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.
Peaceable Kingdom by Variety said it was about providing a safe and fun place for Ukrainian refugees.
“Everyone is walking around here with tears of appreciation,” volunteer Tonya Levchuk said.
Over 50 Ukrainian child-refugees, ages 5-13, attended a 4-day, 3-night retreat.
Misha Musienko said he 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 said she was 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 of 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 and 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 firsthand, she said it was very real, and she doesn’t want people to forget it was still happening.
“A full-fledged war—very cruel,” Mariia said. “People are killed. Women are raped. Kids are killed.”