Empower Ukraine’s youth to rebuild their communities
Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine is the biggest threat to freedom and democracy since WWII and has devastated cities and villages across the country. Under Russian occupation, schools such as the secondary school in Katyuzhanka were used by the Russians as command posts during the battle of Kyiv. Their generals lived there. When the Russian forces left, they looted everything: all the silverware from the student cafeteria, all the laptops, and even the window curtains.
To address the devastating impact of Russia’s war on Ukrainian students, their schools, and their communities, Spirit of America has developed and funded a new program, UActive, in partnership with the Ukrainian nonprofit savED.
More than ever, Ukraine needs its younger generation to have the critical knowledge, skills, and resources to become active leaders in rebuilding and strengthening their communities. Through the UActive program, high school students in formerly occupied territories are taught leadership, entrepreneurship, civics, planning, and project management skills. They are tasked with developing projects that will improve their schools and neighborhoods, and their project ideas are awarded micro-grants that then fund the projects they come up with. As a result, integral community spaces such as theaters, sports fields, cultural venues, co-working spaces, and other critical outlets are being restored.
Projects already completed by Ukrainian students include:
- Creation of a co-working space in Ploske that hosts classes on mine safety, first aid, and other events benefiting the entire community.
- Installation of eco-vending machines in Chernihiv to collect and recycle plastic with proceeds used to help the community take care of stray and abandoned animals.
- Construction of a gym and rehabilitation center in Mykhailo-Kotsiubynske for dual-purpose use by students and wounded soldiers.
- Formation of a 3D printing center in Katyuzhanka to spark innovation and create equipment parts needed by Ukrainian defenders.
UActive students are learning the skills and getting the financial support necessary to help serve their country – to be agents of change, hope, and progress today and for the future. They see it as their contribution to the war effort.
UActive is an inspiration for students in the US and around the world. The program launched in five schools and towns that were under Russian occupation and bombardment, empowering almost 100 students. Today, it has expanded to 10 new schools in the Mykolaiv region, which was heavily bombarded by Russian forces and occupied until fall 2022.
“My personal motivation is to restore our country and improve life in it, to provide assistance to our war veterans, to give people joy, happy emotions, to see their smiles – all these aspects are important to me.” – Ivan, Grade 10, Mykhailo-Kotsyubinsky Lyceum
“At the moment when a rocket hit our school, I was in the middle, and if the rocket had hit a little to the left [or] right in the shelter, I could have died…
When we learned that it is possible to implement the project of the rehabilitation center, I had a great motivation to help everyone who, as a result of the war, needs rehabilitation; and especially the military, who risk their lives every day for our sake. My father is also a soldier in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and he needs both physical and moral support.” – Artem, Grade 10, Mykhailo-Kotsyubinsky Lyceum
These resilient and highly motivated Ukrainian students see the devastating effects of war every day. Through UActive, they are empowered to become the agents of change that they want to see in their communities and their country. They are the generation that will rebuild Ukraine, and teaching them these skills today will strengthen the entire country for tomorrow.
With your support, this program can meet its $150,000 goal to help expand to more schools, students, and communities in need, in hard-hit towns and villages behind the front lines. United we can show America at its best by standing with and supporting Ukraine’s young leaders as they help rebuild their country.