It’s been a busy week! Dana and I completed the planning for our birding trip to Brazil. There are so many details for traveling to another country…passports, proof of Covid vaccines, and packing. Whew! But we’re leaving on Tuesday for three weeks and are so excited! I’ll update you on our visit as time goes on.

Now onto the fantastic work in Poland; the board of Ukraine Relief Initiative (URI) has met a couple of times this week…so thankful for internet coverage. Many great ideas are being worked through for the next steps of helping our new Ukrainian friends. I’ll keep you posted on the new developments in due time.

Meanwhile, the work of the new psychotherapy center was completed, and a receptionist and therapists were hired. I failed to mention in the last email that there were many volunteers and donations to get the center ready. I want to thank the volunteers for their hours of hard work and Ikea for their generous donation of all the furniture and shelving units. In case you didn’t see the last email, here are a couple of videos of the new Psychotherapy center, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6owDfuhCRU, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i129TQ9Sxs.

KDU gives Ukraine Relief Initiative a weekly newsletter of the services provided with your generous donations. We’ll start including the updates in our emails. Here’s the Fundacija Kocham Debniki newsletter update for July 2-July 8:

This is a week of miracles. We have to tell you about them below!

  • ŚWIETLICA DĘBNIKI Community Centre works full time (each week providing help for more than 250 people). 
  • We opened the Psychotherapy Centre at Podzamcze Street no 26/2 in cooperation with our friends from the Let’s Help Together Foundation! The need for psychotherapeutic help exceeded our wildest expectations – not only are people calling the Centre all day (even from remote places in Poland), but they come and form a queue in the building (very soon, we will need to open online sessions and hire more therapists). 
  • We joined forces with two wonderful organizations, Polish Let’s Help Together Foundation (also above) and the Ukrainian “Unity” Public Organization and opened a project for a 2-month summer semi-camp for Ukrainian kids and teens, with student-directed planning. The activities will be led by educators and pedagogues who fled from Dniepropetrovsk in Ukraine during this war conflict. The first activities start next week! We hope that this project will develop into a long-term cooperative arrangement. 
  • The film summer semi-camp with movie director Piotr Stasik (Poland) and producer Natalia Krasilnikova (Ukraine), which took place in our Swietlica this week, was great! 13 teens attended, and during five days of intensive workshops they created a stop-motion animation about their dreams…(will be available to see soon ;)). 
  • Some joyful privacy: we welcomed to the world little Svatoslav – his pregnant mum was one of the first refugees who came to our Centre. All of us took care of her. It makes us so happy!!! 

Ukraine Relief Initiative – thank you for supporting our activity to relieve the crisis NOW! 

As you can see, there is fantastic progress in Poland. In addition to the new psychotherapy center opening, other work continues at the Swetlika community center. The center received a generous donation of two tons of sugar for the pantry. With the prices of ethanol, sugar mills in Brazil are converting sugarcane to ethanol instead of sugar. This is creating a shortage of sugar across Europe. With the costs of sugar rising in Poland, this was an unexpected donation, received with an abundance of gratitude. Also, this week…KDU bought a van with a trailer…thanks to your contributions. The van will take medical supplies from Poland to the front lines in Ukraine and pick up refugees fleeing Ukraine. A lot is happening in Poland to help Ukrainians permanently settle in their new country.

Board games for teenagers are held every Friday at 5 pm! The most important thing is the communication, and the time they spend together. Like children but already so grown up!

Boardgames for teens.

I’ll close with this last bit of news…URI and KDU have been a focus on Poland TV. We are a part of the series of volunteer organizations helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland. What a great way to get exposure to the services offered by KDU! Check out the video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhSCFa3VeiU.

Thank you for all your donations and for sharing the word. Please, if you would like to contribute to the new programs, the donation information is below. And continue to spread the message about the continual needs of our new Ukrainian friends and of the heart-touching work of the Ukraine Relief Initiative. We have accomplished so much together; let’s keep it going! Love to you all. Be positive and stay safe. #peaceforukraine #westandwithukraine #ukrainereliefintiative

Freedom is possible!

 

Much love,
Cindy and Dana

 

HOW TO MAKE FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS

These contributions are tax-deductible through HCC, our registered 501(c)(3) pass-through charity.

TO CONTRIBUTE BY CHECK:

Make your check payable to **Hispanic Community Council** (VERY IMPORTANT: not to Ukraine Relief Initiative). After you write your check to the Hispanic Community Council, please mail your check to:

Ukrainian Relief Initiative
c/o Gladys Archer
115 Main Ave
Warren, PA 16365

Please indicate “Ukrainian Relief Initiative” in the check memo and include a note with your contact info (address, phone, email). * See the footnote at the bottom for details on the Hispanic Community Council.

TO CONTRIBUTE ELECTRONICALLY BY PAYPAL:

Use this link:   https://www.paypal.me/UkraineReliefInitiat. PayPal goes through Gladys Archer, serving as a liaison between the “Ukraine Relief Initiative” and “Hispanic Community Council,” our 501(c)3 pass-through organization.

In the memo, please include your name, address, phone #, and email so we can process your tax receipt.

CONTRIBUTE WITH NO TAX RECEIPT

Venmo directly to my personal account now, and I’ll ensure your funds get where they need to be. Make sure to indicate “Ukraine Relief Initiative” in the transfer. Please give me your contact info (phone, email, address). You can Venmo directly to me:

Click this link, https://account.venmo.com/u/Cynthia-Henson-12.

_______

* In light of the emergency needs in Poland/Ukraine and the prohibitively long lead time of months or even years to establish a new charity in the US, the Hispanic Community Council of Chautauqua County (HCC), a local 501(c)(3) charity in the Warren-Jamestown area, has generously stepped forward, slashed the red tape, and agreed to act as the passthrough charity to process payments and issue tax receipts for our Ukraine Relief Initiative, consistent with their broad charitable mandate relating to international community engagement.  HCC is not charging our initiative one single penny to act as our passthrough charity. 100% of your contributions sent to HCC and earmarked for the Ukrainian Relief Initiative will go directly towards our mission of relieving the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

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