(COLORADO SPRINGS) — More than a dozen Ukrainian children explored the city of Colorado Springs, visiting the top of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods.
“So today we decided to spend our first part of the day at the COG Railway,” Ukraine Aid Fund Member, Zhanna Overchuk, said. “And we were on the top of the mountain is amazing view, amazing weather and right now we would like to explore a little bit this area. Kids are so tired and very exhausted, but we would like to give them as much as we can.”
Ukraine Aid Fund supported the children traveling overseas to visit the state of Colorado for two weeks. The nonprofit organization is based in Denver and first welcomed the children at Denver International Airport.
“These kids here today, it’s one of the many projects that we completed as of now, and we are so happy to host them here,” Overchuk said.
A small group gathered outside of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center to welcome the children and chaperons, including Larysa Martyniuk.
“When the war started, several nonprofits that are basically supported by Ukrainian Americans started,” Martyniuk said. “And this one [Ukraine Aid] Fund is one that I immediately joined and supported because they were running a lot of wonderful fundraisers.”
Martyniuk has family overseas and shared the connection she feels with these children in having loved ones back in Ukraine.
“There’s no words because I can feel the pain,” Martyniuk said. “I have family back in Ukraine and I’m in contact with them, and I always try to help out. And it’s really close to my heart and watching all the news, it’s heart wrenching to see what is happening there.”
Many of the children have lost a parent or both to the war happening in their home country.
“They sponsored these orphans who have lost their parents or whose parents have been misplaced [or] are missing because of the war in Ukraine,” Martyniuk said. “We are trying to give them a good time, show them some great places and, of course, Colorado Springs is one of those beautiful areas.”
Once the group arrived at the Visitor Center, Martyniuk handed out Letters of Love that were addressed for each child.
Letters of Love (LoL) Global collects handwritten notes to be distributed to children in need of support. LoL to Ukraine were the letters distributed on Friday afternoon to the 14 Ukrainian orphans.
“This amazing trip, thank you for this,” visitor Vlad said.
Information can be found online on how you can write a letter to be given to an Ukrainian orphan.
The children were beaming when opening up letters and reading the words of encouragement.
“When you see the smiles, it gives you some hope,” Overchuk said. “When you see how many people united to help these kids, not just these kids, Ukrainians, you know, it gives you hope that we can fight and we can win these fight.”
Donations can be made online to the Ukraine Aid Fund which is the nonprofit that made the trip all possible.
“Ukraine Aid Fund, and it’s what is amazing about this organization that we were able to like unite people, not just Ukrainian communities,” Overchuk said. “You know, it’s like all people who have the hearts, you know, and who could not stay like indifferent and do nothing. Everyone wants to contribute something.”
The children will fly back to Ukraine on February 14.