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Antonina and her two children, Victoria (13) and Yarik (12) arrived in the US August 10th, 2022.  They are living in a basement apartment of their host family here in Ellicott City.  The father is still in Kiev.  (Ukrainian  men between 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave as they need them to fight and to keep the economy going.)   Prior to the war, Antonina and her husband were both professionals in Kiev, enjoying a nice life.   Four weeks after the first bombs fell, Antonina and her children fled to Poland.  Still feeling unsafe, they found their US host family on Facebook and have been here now for 3 months.
The children are currently going to public school, and after completing their homework, they logon to their computer to do Ukrainian online school.
Local resident, Karina Fisher, read about the situation on Facebook and has been instrumental in getting the family out of the house for fun activities; even getting the Boy Scouts to secure membership and a uniform for Yarik, which he is enjoying.   13 year old Victoria is a budding artist and we hope we can find an art camp for her in the summer.
The children speak English, and Antonina is learning quickly.  (She also speaks Polish, German, and Russian).  Her biggest concern, outside of that for her husband and children, is securing meaningful employment.  She has a masters degree in Economics and a bachelor’s in Ecology.  In Ukraine, she worked in the energy sector so she is hoping to gain meaningful employment in the same or a similar field.
They are also in need of a car, and once employment is secured, a place of their own.   Currently, she is relying on the kindness of her host family and other volunteers to provide transportation.
We in this country are so blessed to have never experienced such trauma in our homeland.  It is unimaginable to think how frightened these children must be.  Helping Antonina and her children is a very real, direct way you can make a difference.
Lastly, a fundraiser for the family will be held Wednesday, November 23rd at Bare Bones Grill in Ellicott City from 7-11pm. The band, CRUSH, will be playing and donating their pay.  We are hoping to get news coverage. The restaurant is donating 10% of all proceeds and $2 of every Crush beverage purchased. We are hoping to raise enough to get her a used car. I hope you will consider attending and/or donating.

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