COLORADO SPRINGS — Tomorrow is Ukraine's Independence Day, and while it's usually a day celebrate, the war with Russia continues six months later. However a campaign is happening locally to send positive messages and words of encouragement to people and children impacted by the war.
The effort is called “Project Colorado Cares,” and it’s a partnership through the national non-profit called Letters of Love based out of Minnesota.
In recent weeks, members of the community have gone to a local library to hand-write letters and notes. They’re letters of love, hope and inspiration.
One letter reads says, ”everything will be alright, and you can find peace.”
Another says, “I hope you are safe and healthy, you are very strong, and don't forget there are people who are supporting you. Things will get better.”
They'll be sent overseas to Ukrainian refugees and orphaned children. They’re simple hand-written message making a big impact.
“These letters will mean a lot to those children. When they have time at the end of the day, and they're wondering what tomorrow is going to bring, hey will read those letters over and over again,” said Steve Popovich.
Popovich began “Project Colorado Cares,” back in June. He’s dedicated a lot of his time to humanitarian aid efforts globally, and is also a grandson of Ukrainians.
“When the conflict began, a group of citizens here noticed that moms and kids were pretty frustrated and sad about what was happening, and they wanted a way to express our feelings and feel like they were making a difference somehow,” said Popovich.
So far, the community has written more than 450 letters at the many writing stations across El Paso County. Popovich hopes to have 500 written by the end of the month.
Popovich has been working closely with Melody Alvarez, the director of family and children services with the Pikes Peak Library District.
Alvarez says there are more than 800 orphaned children temporarily houses in hotels outside of Warsaw. For the project, local kids can write letters and draw pictures for orphaned kids, while local parents can write a letter to refugee parents.
“We really want to make sure that when the child puts that letter in their pocket or backpack and they look at it, you know, every day that it's really encouraging and it's sending love and very positive,” said Alvarez. “Some of these letters are just, ‘we were thinking of you, you got this, and I know right now it's tough.’”
And while the war is an everyday battle for Ukrainians, these letters let them know that they're not alone and supported.
“It’s really letting them know that when their world is crashing and everything around them, that there is a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, that people do care what's happening for them, and that we are sending love and letting them know that they're not alone in this,” said Alvares.
“There's something about a child or a mother receiving a handwritten letter. It brings it personality, it brings it individuality, it brings it a true sincere letter of love,” said Popovich.
There are writing stations at the 15 libraries in the Pikes Peak Library District. You can also write letters at the Security-Widefield Library, and all branches at the Pueblo City-County Library District. There's a writing station at Aurora Central Branch Library too. These writing stations will be set up until August 31.
Governor Polis is also endorsing the project. Other partners include Frontier Horizon Inc, Letter of Hope for Ukraine, United Nations Refugee Agency, the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs, Office Depot Store 456, Ukrainians of Colorado, and Ukrainian National Women's League of America Inc.
For more information about the effort, click here.
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