This past August we were in Bukovel, Ukraine running a summer camp for children affected by the war. We might as well have been in Vail as far as the war is concerned. Bukovel has the ambiance of a ski resort in Switzerland. It's crowded, and there is no sense of danger. It offers Ukrainians a respite from the war, and the kids we worked with were no exception. It was a moment of peace in their difficult lives. During one of our activities, Zoya, a guardian, held the hand of Jenya, a 10-year-old girl. She told us her parents were shot right in front of her. The father died instantly, and the mother lived for ten days before dying in a hospital. Jenya was listening and started crying. Zoya held Jenya in her arms and said softly we can't change the past; we can only look to the future. It's a harsh thing for a 10-year-old to hear. Suffering comes to us all, but can't the children get a break? Unfortunately not.
Standing there helpless and awkward, I handed her a Snickers bar. It seemed to distract her. She stopped crying, said thanks, and ran off to play with her friends. These kids appreciate small acts of kindness, but I hope these camps are only a springboard for something far more significant. Many kids need dental work, help with their disrupted education, and someone to love them while they grieve through unimaginable tragedies. Consider helping out through individual sponsorship, supporting future camps, or our Christmas Wish program. There is also the opportunity to travel with us on a mission trip to meet the kids personally. If you look at the big picture, the need is overwhelming, but for now, think about changing one child's life at a time.