April 8, 2022
Bracelet sale raises support and awareness for Ukraine
A group of Upper St. Clair High School students hopes to raise funding and awareness for the crisis in Ukraine. Seniors Carmella McNally, Victoria Semenov and Penny Yates along with freshman Isabel Vilensky are selling blue and yellow bracelets to members of the school community for $3 each or two for $5.
For Isabel and Victoria, the cause is personal.
“I’m half Russian, half Ukrainian,” Isabel said. “My cousin and aunt were shot on the border of Ukraine (they were trying to escape) and died, and I know so many children have definitely lost their parents that way, but they’re still stuck in Ukrainian orphanages. It’s bad enough having to mourn someone so close to you, but it’s infinitely worse when on top of that, you have to worry that you’re alone in a warring country.”
Victoria’s parents’ families both immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union in order to start a better life.
“Having a personal connection with this war, it has been hard for my family to watch and listen to the news for the past month,” Victoria said. “Seeing all of the senseless devastation in Ukraine, I felt I really needed to do something.”
The response from their classmates has been overwhelming.
“While some have a personal connection, others just wanted to help in any way they could,” Carmella said. “Throughout the week, we noticed how eager students were to donate. Selling bracelets gives everyone an opportunity to help out.”
Bracelets were sold during lunch periods from April 4-8 and the students are already nearing their initial goal of $1,000. The bracelet sale will continue following spring recess and the students are exploring opportunities to sell bracelets within the community.
All of the monies will be given to a local church to cover the cost of shipping donated items to Ukraine.
“People have been really great about donating items to various churches and such. The problem, however, lies in actually getting those items to Ukraine,” Isabel said. “The money will go to funding transportation of essential needs, such as diapers, clothing, medicines, etc., to Ukrainian orphanages.”
For the students, raising awareness and showing support for the people of Ukraine were as important as collecting donations.
“We came up with the idea to make specifically bracelets because we thought that they would be the most effective way to not only to fundraise, but also to raise awareness,” Carmella said. “We knew bracelets would be the best option because more people will be willing to give when they see a bracelet.”
The students are hoping the bracelets will serve as a reminder that others in the world are suffering and that students in Upper St. Clair can make a difference in the world.
“Living in a suburban community in Pennsylvania, we tend to have more comfortable lives and aren’t always aware of the dangers that other people need to face,” Isabel said. “This fundraiser not only is going to allow us to play a part in solving a worldwide crisis, it’ll also expose us a bit to the issues outside of Upper St. Clair, thus expanding our perspective and teaching us how to take initiative in difficult times.”