University and Yia Yia's host “UNL for Ukraine” – KOLN

University and Yia Yia's host “UNL for Ukraine” – KOLN

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Russia’s war on Ukraine has been going on for two months now. One downtown Lincoln restaurant was covered in blue and yellow showing support for Ukraine on Wednesday night.
A UNL honor’s professor was hoping to host an event supporting Ukraine, but didn’t know where to go. She thought of using her house, but wanted to open it up to the community. That’s when her friends at Yia Yia’s opened their space to host “UNL for Ukraine.”
While pizzas were prepped in the background, UNL students, staff and professors gave testimonies about being from Ukraine.
“I was born in Ukraine,” said Tatyana Gulchuk, a UNL Finance Coordinator. “It is still the land where I grew up, so I care so much about it.”
Gulchuk still has family living in Ukraine. She moved to the U.S. at 10 years old, went to Lincoln High School, and graduated from UNL. She spent 11 days visiting the Ukraine-Poland border last month.
“I wanted to do something more,” Gulchuk said. “We were working there as volunteers. I translated and rented a car and transported people to different cities.”
Also in attendance was graduate student and Ukrainian Michael Ivashchenko. He’s at UNL on a Fulbright Scholarship and hasn’t seen his family for two years.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve been trying to talk everyday, but obviously now it’s even more relevant,” Ivashchenko said. “I’m trying to keep contact as much as possible.”
Even though their home and hearts are more than 5,000 miles away, these Ukrainians are feeling a sense of assurance from the Lincoln community.
Nonprofits were also in attendance such as Lincoln Literacy and Catholic Social Services. With Ukrainian refugees likely making their way to Lincoln and Afghan refugees already here, these non-profits are emphasizing the need for the community to help welcoming these people here.
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