KILLEEN, Texas (FOX 44) – Texas is a temporary home for many Ukrainian refugees, so Peaceable Kingdom by Variety and Rotary Central Texas wanted to do something to help them.
At Peaceable Kingdom by Variety, this weekend was about giving a safe and fun place to Ukrainian refugees.
“Everyone is walking around here with tears of appreciation,” volunteer Tonya Levchuk said.
Over 50 Ukrainian child-refugees ages 5-13, attended the 4-day, 3-night retreat.
Misha Musienko says he really enjoyed staying there, he had a lot of fun, and he liked the food.
Mariia is a refugee from Ukraine, and her 13-year-old son attended the camp this weekend -something she says she’s thankful for.
“We had a lot of fun, and it kind of took our minds off what is going on in Ukraine,” Mariia said.
The goal for the camp was to help Ukrainian child refugees combat fear, separation, uncertainty, and loss of community.
“We saw that we could bring together the Ukrainian refugee community and let these kids just be kids for a weekend, take a deep breath, but even more importantly, I think really help them to connect with their community,” District Governor for the Rotary District 5870 Shannon Coleman said.
The kids got to do all sorts of activities throughout the weekend such as zip-lining, singing campfire songs, and making s’mores, things many of the kids have never done before.
“Soon as you enter the camp. Right. All the Ukrainian flags, yellow, blue. They treat our kids as their own. Just like I don’t think I’ve ever been in any so loving, you know, place that puts together so much love.”
After this weekend, Ukrainian refugee Alona Musienko feels supported and seen.
“We understand that we are not alone,” Alona Musienko said.
As someone who has experienced the war first hand, she says it’s very real, and she doesn’t want people to forget it’s still happening.
“A full fledged war, very cruel,” Mariia said. “People are killed, women are raped, kids are killed.”