Olya Hryntsiv visited Fort la Reine School Monday to receive a donation from the students' efforts to raise funds for orphans in Ukraine. Cassandra came up with the idea to sell bracelets and necklaces the students made.
Hryntsiv shares her reaction.
"I'm proud of the kids, actually, the kids in the whole world. They are a new generation," says Hryntsiv. "They are more smart than we are as adults. They think more inside than we do. We see just only on the top. They can see inside."
She notes she's thrilled to know nobody asked the students to initiate this fundraiser.
"They did that because they want to help the kids in Ukraine," continues Hryntsiv. "I told them the kids in Ukraine understand exactly what's going on. They feel that pain. They know what they mean by pain. They know fear. They know what it means to run, and when I told that to these kids, they were like, 'Absolutely, we understand what you are talking about.'"
Hryntsiv notes the kids' plans for fundraising impacted her for two days after hearing about it.
"It wasn't the adults, but the kids. And that's $500. That's not like a $5. That's huge," adds Hryntsiv.
She explained to the students that the money is going toward a house for orphans "A Kind House," in Ukrainian.
"A lady created that house when she started her volunteering in Ukraine to help the kids with cancer for several years," explains Hryntsiv. "She was fighting for the kids' lives and she's so smart, kind and open. In Ukraine, we have a different health system than you have in Canada. Kids who had cancer had to pay for that, and usually they got the treatment in different countries like Israel, Poland, or countries in the Netherlands. One day, she decided that she needs to have the House and also any time when she had the time, she would go to the poorest part of the country where people live in small villages and it's hard to get to them. She had a big van filled with boxes with food and clothes needed by the kids and families."
Cassandra came up with the fundraiser to make bracelets and necklaces.
She says she felt a sense of joy and kindness in being able to present the money to Hryntsiv, and describes the photos of the house that Hryntsiv showed the students.
"The kids looked cute, but I felt bad because of how the house doesn't have a lot of stuff in there," says Cassandra.
Grade 4 teacher Vanessa Mosek-Mattice adds, "We're very proud of all the kids that were involved in the fundraiser. It's really heartwarming to see that they're willing to give their time, especially at this age, when they just want to be outside and running around. Instead, they came in and they served for someone else. It was really amazing for our school and our community, too, to see everybody that contributed and added to the fundraiser. Special thanks to Cassandra because she's the one that hatched the idea and got it going. It wouldn't happen without her."