The Red Heart is a traditional symbol of the Croatian capital, Zagreb.

Principle #5 – Appreciate everyone in your circle of light

We had a fantastic week in Kraków, Poland! It was great to catch up with the URI and KDU teams! We talked about the current needs and planned for the foreseeable future. And because we all have hope for peace, we discussed how to help after the war ends. The Świetlica Dębniki Community Center distributes food to over 2,500 Ukrainians every month. And, thanks to Plebeian Helpers for Ukraine and the kind people in Dębniki, we had plenty of food and hygiene products for the August distribution.

My generous friends, all of you raised $2000.00 during our “Fill the Pantry to Overflowing” campaign. Because the Plebeian Helpers group donated a large quantity of food, we purchased much-needed school supplies for Ukrainian children. Now, they can start another school year with brand-new supplies. I can’t thank you enough for your help in supporting the community center and our new Ukrainian friends. Check out a video from Lena, the community center program coordinator here. I understand many people need financial help, but if helping Ukrainians at the Świetlica Dębniki Community Center speaks to your heart, please see the end of the email for how you can contribute. Thank you for opening your hearts and supporting our Ukrainian friends because everyone can make a difference.

School supplies help 250 families!

Moms get school supplies for their children. Even the youngest get school supplies!

After we visited Kraków, we boarded a very early…4:15 am… flight to Croatia! We were welcomed with a cute little red heart cookie when we got to our hotel. It’s called a Licitar, an elaborately decorated cookie made of sweet honey dough. It’s a Croatian gift to show affection and a traditional souvenir from Croatia and Slovenia (see the picture above). Next, we met our large tour group of 27 people…yikes!

We visited Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. It’s a beautiful city with a history dating back to Roman times, 1094 AD. It’s also a city full of museums! We went to the New Wave Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum and the 80’s Museum…talk about a blast from the past. Dana even played an old Pacman game! It was super fun!

Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, has a lot of museums!

Our next stop was to Slovenia. It shares a 416-mile-long border to the east, southeast, and south with Croatia. Slovenia is mostly mountains and forests. It’s known for its ski resorts. The country is on Lake Bled, a glacial lake fed by hot springs. Bled Island sits in the middle of Lake Bled with a 17th-century church, Assumption of Mary. You can only get there by boat paddled by an oarsman. The church has a magic wishing bell. Read about the Legend of the Sunken Bell here. Overlooking the lake is a medieval castle called Bled Castle. The castle is officially the oldest in Slovenia; it was first cited in 1011. On the castle’s grounds are a museum, a replica of a Gutenberg printing press, a 16th-century chapel, and a restaurant. The views from the castle were spectacular!

Lake Bled in the Julian Alps of Slovenia, and Overlooking Lake Bled from Bled Castle

We traveled back to Croatia, where we visited the coast of the Adriatic Sea. We enjoyed a little time away from our tour group. We had dinner in a lovely coastal town and walked along the lake. We saw a boat playing music in the Adriatic Sea on our walk back to the hotel. Listen here. We are staying in Croatia for another week and then off to Istanbul, Turkey. I’ll update you on our last week in Croatia in the next email.

“Hi” from the coast of the Adriatic Sea of Croatia

Thank you for following our vacation journey and, more importantly, the journey of our Ukrainian friends at the Świetlica Dębniki Community Center. Whatever you believe in your spiritual universe, please wish, hope, or pray for this war to end soon. Thank you for being a part of my circle of light. Be positive and stay safe. #peaceforukraine #lovewins

In appreciation and solidarity,



If you DON’T need a tax receipt:
Please send funds to my Venmo account:

If you DO need a tax receipt:
Contributions are fully tax-deductible through HCC, our registered 501(c)(3) passthrough charity.

Make your check payable to **Hispanic Community Council** – (VERY IMPORTANT: not to Ukraine Relief Initiative) and send it to the following address:

c/o John Kersey
208 Liberty Street
Warren, PA 16365

Please indicate “Ukrainian Relief Initiative” in the check memo and include a note with your contact info (address, phone, email).

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