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Ukrainian exchange student shares fears with high school journalist, Urges Coloradans to donate

Ivan Kozlov is only the 2nd person in his family to ever come to America
Posted at 11:57 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 02:06:12-05

PUEBLO WEST — Ivan Kozlov, 16-years old, sits in Pueblo West High School while his family endures war back home in Ukraine.

"The first thought in my head was - How is my family doing? Like is my city OK? Are they safe?"

Kozlov came to Colorado as an exchange student in August 2021.

Now, his father is volunteering himself to the Ukrainian Army in the fight against Russia. His mother and sister had to flee to another city.

"Unfortunately neither of my family members have an opportunity to leave the country."

Ivan Kozlov poses with a sign reading "I *heart* Kyiv"

Kozlov shared his experience with Pueblo West High School's journalism program.

In a roughly 12-minute long interview, Kozlov and Shannon Sheehan, the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, had a raw conversation about Kozlov's experience since Russia invaded Ukraine.

"So often in the media, people try to present their own story, and a lot of times we need to allow the story to tell itself," said Sheehan.

Sheehan says even high schoolers have been consumed by the war unfolding overseas.

"If we think about it, the seniors of high school today are our future. They're going to be our future generations of future people in congress making those decisions that are going on today... So it is so important that we're on top of things, cause I was listening to a quote from a Ukrainian man in a speech and he said something along the lines of - Today it's Ukraine, tomorrow it's America."
Shannon Sheehan

The students' interview now has over 1,100 views on Youtube, which is more than 20 times the amount their channel usually gets.

Kozlov is now using his platform to advocate for what he believes others countries should do to help Ukraine.

"Ukraine needs NATO to close air space over Ukraine. Russia has committed multiple war crimes, including shelling civilian territories."

He also says one of the biggest ways people around the world can help is by donating to verified groups like the Red Cross in Ukraine, the National Bank of Ukraine, and Razom for Ukraine.

Pueblo West will host a bake sale on Tuesday, March 8. Kozlov says proceeds will go to the Red Cross and Razom.

Flyer for bake sale at Pueblo West High School on March 8 to support Ukraine during war

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