Empower Ukraine's youth to rebuild their communities

Help Ukrainian students in formerly occupied territories restore their schools and neighborhoods.

Donate today to help Ukraine's youth rebuild communities


Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine is not only a threat to freedom and democracy, but an attempt to destroy the future of Ukraine. 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 develop 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 youth hubs, theaters, sports fields, and cultural venues are being restored.

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.

After the UActive pilot program launched in five war-affected schools from Kyiv and Chernihiv, the program expanded in fall 2023 to hard-hit Ukrainian communities closer to the front lines. In the Mykolaiv region, 100 schoolchildren became UActive program participants. Five teams out of 10 received grants from Spirit of America to implement their ideas, and the new spaces debuted in April 2024.

Many of the new UActive projects from Mykolaiv focused on creating youth hubs and centers for students to have a safe place to convene, interact, and engage with each other. It’s easy to forget how much isolation Ukrainian youth have faced in recent years. First, it was through the COVID-19 pandemic when education shifted to online learning. Shortly after, it was due to Russia’s devastating full-scale invasion. As students lived in Russian occupied towns, their opportunities to communicate, develop, and grow together were forcefully and unjustly taken from them.

These inspiring Ukrainian students are reclaiming their childhoods, serving their communities, and becoming leaders through UActive. Recent projects from Mykolaiv include:

A youth space and community gym in Centralne village

Students from Centralne village opened a youth space with books, board games, and workout equipment — and created the first full-fledged gym in their village. Centralne was under Russian occupation for nine months in 2022, preventing children from interacting. Students have been studying remotely for over two years, but the new “Magnet” space will unify them and encourage the return of those who left due to the invasion. Additionally, the Centralne school students have partially funded the renovation of their school bomb shelter in hopes of returning to in-person learning by September.

An outdoor stage and community hub in the Yelanets village school yard

The Yelanets school hadn’t hosted community events for over two years, prompting the “Respect” team to create an outdoor stage — “The Uniting Place” — for gatherings.

The grand opening featured vocal, musical, and dance performances. Teenagers also plan to launch an open-air cinema here in the summer.

Ukrainians have a rich, vibrant, historic culture. Particularly starting in the 1930s, Russian leadership in the Soviet Union actively oppressed Ukrainian artists and cultural leaders through executions, arrests, and forced disappearances in an effort of prolonged cultural silencing. A brief revival of Ukraine’s artistic era in the 1960s led to further Soviet oppression as artists were beaten, jailed, forced into psychiatric hospitals, and forbidden to publish. This illustrates the Soviet regime’s ongoing Ukrainian cultural oppression. Today, Russia is also actively attempting to erase Ukrainian identity. As Ukrainians were generationally and unjustly silenced, “The Uniting Place” at the Yelanets school creates a space for artistic Ukrainian voices to be heard._

Multifunctional space in the village of Berezanka

The Berezanka school, spared from shelling, became a central community hub in the Mykolaiv region, taking in numerous internally displaced persons from neighboring towns. For their UActive project, the “Heba” team bought furniture and created a multi-functional space for both youth and village residents. The grand opening featured workshops, even continuing during an air raid alarm. Future plans include summer activities and project management workshops for local children, teenagers, and neighboring communities. You can learn more about the new UActive projects from the Mykolaiv region here.

“I love that UActive gives such amazing opportunities to teenagers. I’m sure that it will positively affect the education of this generation.” – Student Olesya, Yelanets

With your support, this program can meet its $250,000 goal to fully fund the above projects and continue to 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.

100% of your donation will go directly to the expenses of implementing this project and providing the assistance. Donations in excess of this project’s need will be offered a refund. We are proud to be rated 4 stars by Charity Navigator.

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3033 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 70 | Arlington, VA 22201

Follow Us

No endorsement of Spirit of America by the US Department of Defense, Department of State, or US personnel is intended or implied.

Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 20-1687786

“You don't have to wear a uniform to serve the nation.™” and “Patriotism without politics.™” are trademarked by Spirit of America.

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