Lexi Pendola, 17, spent nearly a year teaching Ukrainian children how to speak English via Zoom in 2021. Now that those she taught have become refugees, Lexi switched gears to help raise funds for their continued survival as war rages around them and Russian forces continue to attack an innocent civilian population.
Inspired by one of her 15-year-old students’ determination to survive as a refugee that prompted Lexi to try and raise $25,000 via her Help Ukraine GoFundMe and send the funds via several ways so they have access to the funds in this time of war.
Lexi has been getting updates from Julia, the classroom teacher who remained in the besieged city and is helping the refugees.
As of March 24t the fundraiser was at $8,859.00. Because getting funds to those in Ukraine during the war is difficult, her parents are helping her transfer the funds via Western Union which is often the most reliable way to get money to individuals in war-torn areas.
“Since June 2021, I have been tutoring kids ranging from 10 to 17 years old through the Meaningful Teens organization,” Lexi explains. “I volunteered to help teach them English every Saturday morning via zoom. Ever since Russia has invaded Ukraine, I have kept in touch with the kids that I have been tutoring as well as their teacher, Julia.”
There are photographs and a video available made by Julia and her students in Ukraine available for posting.
They remain in contact via direct message, “I have been in contact with one girl in particular. She has constantly kept me updated on the chaos her country is in and her current situation” she said.
A few weeks ago one of the 15-year-old students, now a refugee, began helping others find shelters and volunteering in hospitals.
“Her determination to help her country has inspired me to do anything I can to help,” Lexi explains. “Julia will provide blankets, food, medicine, first-aid kits, etc. for refugees throughout the country with the proceeds of this fundraiser.”
Lexi recalls a brutally long 24-hours without a word from Julia, “It was kind of scary not knowing if she was okay.”
Luckily, Julia was just busy helping refugees.
Here is her latest text: “Hello, Lexi! Today we visited another refugee center, where they received up to 30 people every night. They feed them, give accommodation, and wash their clothes. They urgently needed a new washing machine, because the old one kept breaking all the time. So, we decided that it would be a good help for this center. They also bring refugees from the east. One of the buses they use broke down and they needed spare parts to repair it.”