WCHS students raise awareness for Ukraine Relief


Photo courtesy of Kira Breslawec.

Kira Breslawec stands proudly holding a poster at a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Protests have occured all around the world, including the nations capital to object Putin’s treatment of Ukraine.

By Jordan Pashkoff, Arts Editor

The war between Ukraine and Russia has been plastered all over the news recently. Watching these events unfold has made many Ukrainian-Americans feel nervous, uncertain and fearful as they watch their loved ones and country experience destruction at the hands of the Russian military. WCHS students are just some of the plethora of people who are impacted by this ongoing war. 

“The war in Ukraine has had a huge impact on my life. Ever since I found out, I have not been able to focus,” WCHS junior and Ukrainian-American Kira Breslawec said. “I couldn’t complete any of my school work, and I was so sensitive about everything that was said to me about the war. To me, it doesn’t make sense how such a cruel force can remain in power and execute war crimes against my peaceful people.” 

Wondering how they can help a war that is going on on the other side of the world, Kira Breslawec, Sonia Breslawec and Juliette Mamalian were inspired to raise awareness and money for Ukraine in a way familiar to WCHS students. 

“I remember getting a green ribbon for mental health awareness and thought that making blue and yellow ribbons would be a good way of bringing awareness of the way to WCHS,” Kira Breslawec said. “I wanted to do something easy enough that high school students could partake in, but something that also has meaning.” 

The ribbons were sold outside of the cafeteria and in the Bulldog Lobby during lunch for one dollar and all donations were happily accepted. All proceeds went to United Help Ukraine, an organization that gives donations to medical aid and humanitarian relief in Ukraine. Selling these ribbons alone raised $1700 for United Help Ukraine.

“I never expected to receive the amount of support we got,” WCHS freshman Sonia Breslawec said. “I was not expecting students to donate so much money, with one even donating  $500.” 

Along with making and selling the ribbons for Ukrainian relief, the Breslawecs have attended protests outside the Minnesota State Capitol Building and outside of the White House in Washington D.C to raise awareness and show their support for Ukraine. 

“One [protest] that stuck out to me was a protest we went to on a Sunday, Feb. 27. It was in front of the White House, there were news interviewers everywhere, and about 3,000-4,000 protestors. It was so moving to me because I realized that Ukraine had so much support and many people wanted change,” Sonia Breslawec said. “At the protest, there were political speakers giving various  speeches, we listened to inspiring Ukrainian songs, and we chanted sayings for our country.”

As more is discovered on the war in Ukraine, it is very important for WCHS students to educate themselves on what is really going on. The spread of misinformation is common in places such as schools and is detrimental to helping the cause. Doing research and learning about how and why the war on Ukraine started can help students gain a better understanding of these current events. 

“The most important way to help Ukraine is to educate ourselves on the topic at hand. Learn about why the war started, the past relationship with Russia and Ukraine, and stop making jokes about it. It is not a funny topic, this is real.” Sonia Breslawec said. 

Students can best support Ukraine by going to protests, donating and volunteering to pack boxes of clothes for people in Ukraine. For students who are looking to help, many organizations are accepting donations. This includes Nova Ukraine (​​https://novaukraine.org/), a nonprofit for humanitarian aid for Ukraine, and Sunflower of Peace (https://www.sunflowerofpeace.com/), another nonprofit that is raising money for medical tactical backpacks for medics on the front lines of the war. Also, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) is raising money to prepare vital humanitarian supplies and aid. Donations can be made at ​​https://ucca.org/

“It’s important for people to understand that it’s not okay to make jokes. I have heard people at WCHS laugh about gas prices, the possibility of  WWIII, or how it’s Ukraine’s fault, when they don’t even know the real situation,” Kira Breslawec said. “It’s not a laughing matter when there are innocent Ukrainians getting killed every single day.”