Students write letters, raise funds to support Ukraine

Students from various WJ clubs pose for a photo during a bake sale to raise funds for Voices of Children. The bake sale raised over $1,000.

While news of world leaders supporting the war in Ukraine through sanctions and other foreign policy measures capture headlines across the world, in our neck of the woods, students at WJ have started efforts to help support Ukrainians affected by the war. The Ukraine Project collected letters written by WJ students to send to Ukrainian child refugees in Lublin, Poland, while a bake sale organized by various WJ clubs raised over 1,000 dollars in funds for charity.

Sophomore Rotem Cohen led the Ukraine Project in delivering letters and advertising the project to the student body through Instagram, SGA, WJ clubs, posters and morning announcements. Over 100 letters were received by Cohen, who worked with Irena Sidelnikov, a volunteer at the St Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring to find a way to get the letters to Ukrainian children.

“I heard that a lot of organizations and WJ clubs are raising money to buy food and supplies for Ukrainian refugees, but I thought that these are all physical things. If I was in their situation, I would need spiritual support as well, which led me to the idea of WJ students sending letters to let the refugees know that we care,” Cohen said.

Freshman Valeria Lopez-Lamia wrote letters to refugees together with her cousins visiting her from Colombia.

“As Colombians, we hold war really close to us, as our country has been at war for more than 50 years. We’ve seen the impact that war has on innocent civilians so we hope that these small acts of love and empathy can give the Ukranian kids hope and strength,” Lopez-Lamia said.

WJ Bake with Kindness, Model UN, Uplift WJ and the National Honors Society also held a bake sale on Friday and Saturday, March 25th and 26th to raise money for Voices of Children, a charity focused on giving psychological and psychosocial support to children affected by war.

Together, the clubs raised $1,092 dollars in sales of various baked goods including cookies, brownies, rice krispies and cupcakes.

“We were able to really see the good in our community and send a little help to those who need it. It was important to us as we were able to garner our planning skills and really work together as a WJ community,” Bake with Kindness President Beka Dychtwald said.

The goods that were sold in the bake sale were all baked by around two dozen volunteers who earned NHS credit or SSL hours.

“I think that it’s so important that we as a school show our support for these kinds of great causes. WJ is such a diverse school, and […] Things like bake sales are great ways to support these different communities and allow us to even strengthen our own,” freshman Meley Ghermay said.