This summer, a group of students will be going and staying in Ukraine between June 14 and July 5 to build playgrounds for the local community and school.
Vice President of Human Affairs Ann Hamilton will be leading a group of students across the world to a few communities in a small town, Brovary, which is located near Nova Kakhovka, a city of 300,000 people.
It is also the hometown of one of the students, senior Kateryna Malakhova, who initiated the project.
This team will be partnering with both the school and the Kids Around the World (KIDS) organization and will be trying to repair and rebuild a playground in Brovary as well as document any progress that resulted from its original installation nine years ago.
In addition, the team will be going to Nova Kakhovka in an attempt to build the first playground of the entire city, for there are currently only eleven schools and no playgrounds.
The team hopes to build the playground as an act of love towards the community to bring healing to a place stained by previous generations of war.
Along with this project, Hamilton was able to receive a grant which will go towards bringing along a “special camera” to record the success of the project.
“We currently have a team of ten or twelve people, but would welcome twenty,” Malakhova said.
In addition to building the playgrounds, the team will be visiting hospitals and orphanages with the intent of simply showing Christ’s love to the people within the communities.
“I want children in this town to be able to play and process during times of free-spirited laughter with other children,” Hamilton said.
This idea originally came from Malakhova’s desire to go back to her native land and bring back a sense of change and hope that she did not necessarily feel she had while growing up there.
But it wasn’t until she met with Hamilton that this idea sprung into action.
Both of these women decided to turn this vision into a reality and are ready to take it to Ukraine this summer.
“I really believe in the power of play therapy in children’s lives. Play therapy can help children overcome a great deal of trauma, and if we combine this place to play with the gospel message that Jesus loves them, this can have a tangible, eternal consequence in their lives, and the lives of their parents,” Hamilton said.
If students are interested in joining this team, there are meetings every Thursday 8pm in Smith Hall, second floor Kerr-Pierce conference room.