A Summer Respite in Troubled Ukraine

Nikita Danilenko and his family were never JDC clients before Ukraine's violent political and economic crisis erupted last year.

But now they're among dozens of Lugansk Jewish families who require assistance.

"In spite of the fact that all our family members have different interests, each has managed to find his or her niche at Lugansk's Jewish community center," said Nikita's mother, Milena Boikov. "These events and programs have made our family stronger and helped us become part of the Jewish community."

Nikita, 12, was among the 60 children who participated in JDC's recent summer camp, held in a natural setting outside city limits.

Also attending was Uliyana Batalia, also a 12-year-old from Lugansk.

Living alone with her single mother, Uliyana's life is not easy. Her mother struggles to provide her with the most basic things.

But the Lugansk Teen Club has been a bright spot in a difficult life.

Each Sunday, she's one of the first to open its doors -- and the community appreciates her talents in painting and modern dance.

Since her mother is unable to pay for a vacation outside of Lugansk, the summer camp is a chance for Uliyana to get some respite from the difficult circumstances of her life and spend her summer with peers.

Camp activities included art classes, team sports, bowling, swimming, a Shabbat program, and talks on Jewish culture and traditions.

JDC also coordinated a summer playground program in Donetsk, another city heavily impacted by the crisis in Ukraine.

This important work made possible by your generosity.  To learn more, visit www.JewishinSanDiego.org/ukraine


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