Latin’s Service Learning Clubs Work Together to Help Ukraine

Latins Service Learning Clubs Work Together to Help Ukraine

As the Latin community watches the images of the devastation brought by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, many members of the Latin community have taken action to help. Specifically, Latin’s Service Learning Clubs across all three divisions of the school have come together to respond to the humanitarian crisis.

The Service Learning Clubs have organized a drive to take place between March 10 and March 18 at Latin to make sure the Latin community has a way to help the Ukrainian people. For the past two weeks, people have wanted to help somehow but have not known how. There is now a convenient and important way to help right here at Latin.

As Director of Student Life Tim Cronister reminded the entire community on RomanNet, “In the past two months, two million Ukranians became refugees. That number grows each day.” To aid and support refugees from Putin’s war on Ukraine, the drive is seeking donations of medical supplies both for refugees and those in need in Ukraine. Donations should be dropped off in one of the following three places:

1. The Upper School by the main staircase

2. The Middle School office

3. The Lower School in the lobby

The drive is exclusively for medical supplies. These supplies include, but are not limited to, gauze, bandages, disinfectant wipes, non-prescription antibiotics, pain relievers like Tylenol, Aleve, and aspirin, sterile medical masks, slings, splints, medical tape and antiseptic. RomanNet provided Lysol wipes and Neosporin as examples of supplies needed.

Junior Ryan Rose, one of the Student Service Learning Board organizers, said, “Seriously, anything in that realm will help those in Ukraine and fleeing to neighboring countries.”

Ryan wanted to help as soon as he saw the news of the Russian invasion. “I couldn’t stop thinking about my nanny who returned to Ukraine,” he said. “A few days into the war, she left her hometown all alone, packing all that she could of her life in one suitcase, heading on a bus to Poland. She waited 36 hours at the border.”

Nobody at Latin is too young to participate in the effort. Amanda Schirmacher, a fourth grade teacher and leader of Changemakers, the Lower School Service Club, said, “Our fourth graders are action-takers and changemakers. They believe that even a small action can make an impact.” These Lower School upperclassmen wanted to actually understand what is happening right now in Ukraine and what they could do to help.

“They wanted to learn more about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so we read and discussed, and realized they really wanted to DO something to help,” Ms. Schirmacher said. “Our students don’t want to sit by and just watch this happen; they want to help.” With the spirit of taking action, the fourth graders at their Changemakers Service Club meeting this past week decorated sunflowers with messages of peace and hope.

Fourth Graders’ Art Projects Hang in the Lower School lobby in Support of Ukraine

In addition to helping with the supply drive, the fourth graders participated in awareness and empathy building with an art project. “Even though this is a supply drive/collection, rather than hands-on outreach, the fourth graders understand the WHY behind the drive,” Ms. Schirmacher said.

Just as nobody is too young to participate in the service efforts, nobody is too old, either. Parents are providing important education about how the Latin community can help. In fact, it was a fourth grade mom from Poland who connected Latin with the organization collecting supplies, Meest. Meest is a Ukrainian shipping company.

Organizing Latin’s response took teamwork, a rapid response, and tenacity. “There have been so many people helping make this possible in a matter of days,” Ryan said. “Every single member of the SSLB has helped massively, and we’ve had amazing parent and faculty support in the Lower School. This has made it possible to have the drive be in all three divisions.”

According to Ryan, SSLB organizers hope to continue this drive or a similar one when school resumes in April. “Ukrainian refugees can come to the U.S.,” he said. “Mind you, our refugee/immigration processing is slow and restrictive, [but] we’d want to help people once they arrive as well. It’s the least we can do.”

If you are unable to participate in Latin’s drive or want to do more, the Latin Service Clubs have asked that people consider donating medical supplies through this link from Help Ukraine Together in partnership with Meest.