How to Support Ukraine

I was recently contacted by Kaitlin Kulpa Welsh a Ukrainian American child life specialist who wanted to do everything she could to support her community. She is collaborating with disaster relief with plans for potential deployment and support of arriving refugees. She has also connected with Sts. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church from Ludlow, MA. They created an Amazon Wishlist and have already shipped 300 large moving boxes to medical facilities and orphanages in Ukraine and Poland.

If you would like to support their efforts, click here to make a purchase from their Amazon Wishlist 

How to talk to kids about the war

Provide age-appropriate, honest information, and help to clarify misconceptions. It’s okay to say that you don’t know. Model coping skills for your own feelings and compassion for others. Limit exposure to social media and news outlets, replaying events is not helpful. Speak up for Ukrainians by sharing vetted information and sharing important facts about their country and its contributions to the world. Provide clarification that people from either country aren’t “bad” or “enemies,” this is about one leader who we can refer to as a bully as children can relate to that concept.

Children who have immigrated from or have strong ties to either country may have guilt about playing, going to school, and participating in activities. Provide reassurance that it’s okay and important to keep their normal routines.

A little more about Kaitlin Kulpa Welsh, Child Life Specialist

As a little girl, my Ukrainian grandmother would sing beautiful Ukrainian lullabies to me and tell me stories in Ukrainian at bedtime. We would run around in her garden and sing Ukrainian nursery rhymes as we fed the birds. Sometimes while rocking babies at work I’ll soothe them by singing the same songs to them. They don’t know what I’m saying to them but they smile anyway. By sharing parts of my heritage, I’m able to honor my family and share how special Ukraine and its people are. The world has watched as the Ukrainian people have suffered at the hands of the Russian government during this horrific invasion and have come together to support them.

It’s important to understand that the trauma of this war runs deep for many families within our community. There is a strong history of conflict in this region of the world and the war is reopening a lot of wounds. My great grandfather was arrested and executed during World War 2 for refusing to concede the power of the capital city of Kiev. My grandmother, her younger sister, and her mother were transported to a concentration camp in Germany and were allowed to live if they were willing to work as translators. I grew up hearing stories from my grandmother and have made it a priority to share the beautiful Ukrainian culture, share information about the Holocaust, and aid refugees from all countries.

The Ukrainian people have a strong fighting spirit and deep pride in their country.

Pictured is a quilt my grandmother made to display her love for her country.

Thoughts?