LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Before this month, high school senior Sasha Paszko was likely more familiar with Ukraine than any other student at Lake George Jr.-Sr. High School. He’s 100% Ukrainian himself, with a mother and grandparents who were born there. He’s been to the country three times himself.
And so, when war broke out with an invasion of Ukraine by Russia late in February, he felt the pain more immediately than some. But his school community didn’t leave him alone with that feeling.
“With Russia in Ukraine, there’s been a lot of pressure on me,” said Paszko on Tuesday. “I think it’s really nice to have this school community coming to help in the effort.”
The effort Paszko is talking about ties the village high school to Paszko’s grandfather, Reverend Wolodymir Paszko, a priest at Saint Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Hudson. Reverend Wolodymir and his congregation are collecting medical supplies to send to refugees trying to escape occupied parts of Ukraine – and Lake George’s high school students are helping.
That help has taken the form of a “Change for Ukraine” fundraiser, being run over the next two weeks by the school’s Student Council and Anti-Bullying Committee. Collection cups have been placed in two guidance rooms in the high schools to amass spare change to convert into funds to buy more supplies. A drop box for medical supplies has been placed in the nurse’s office.
The mission has been taken up and supported by the whole high school community at large. The school’s Anti-Bullying Committee sees particular relevance in helping out.
“Really, what’s going on is the biggest form of bullying there is,” said Alexis Pape, a junior and a member of the committee. “This is something we can do to not just stop bullying within our school, but really throughout the world.”
The project runs over the course of the next two weeks, from March 28 – April 8. Students have been working with school advisors Scott Smith and Katie Canale to get the operation rolling.
They’ve also been working, of course, with Sasha Paszko’s family. Sasha’s father, Steve Paszko, said in a statement on the school district website that it’s been important to both him and many of those he’s spoken with to find ways to give to Ukraine relief other than simply throwing money at the crisis and hoping that it helps.
“My father has been shipping clothes and donated items to Ukraine through them for years,” said Steve Paszko. “We are not donating money to anyone. All money donated is being converted to priority medical supplies. There are no administrative costs as we are donating our time and effort to coordinate this.”
The supplies students gather will go through the church to a few different places. One is a relief stream set up by Dnipro, LLC, a shipping company organizing the collection of a long list of items, from first aid kits to non-perishable foods. Other donations will go directly to connections the Paszko family has in Ukraine, to be distributed in communities hurt the most by an occupation that has now hit the 1-month mark.
“It just makes me feel more involved in the community,” said Sasha, who is set to graduate with the class of 2022. “It makes me happy to know that everybody who’s in Ukraine who’s having trouble, everyone has someone to support them and be there for them.”
The Lake George student community isn’t the only one in the village and town stepping up for Ukraine. Village restaurant 10 McGillis has led an effort this month to support United World Kitchen, which is working to feed Ukrainian refugees at border crossings, as many uproot their entire lives in order to pursue safety. Staff at businesses like Fort William Henry Hotel keep in as much contact as they can with Ukrainian citizens who have lived and worked in the village, coming with J-1 student visas to be part of the same community that is now rising up to support them.
“I think it’s great to help those people, because in a time of social media – where everything is broadcast – you really see what’s going on there,” said junior Kelly Grant. “To think that we’re helping people there who are our age, who are in school like us, to prosper is a great feeling.”
Those interested in coordinating donations to the school effort can reach out to Steve Paszko at (518) 744-1638, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to monetary donations, the school is looking for a long list of donated items, including:
- Backpacks 10 x 19 x 14
- Bandage strips, 1″x3″
- Big cinch abdominal bandage
- Burn Aid water gel burn dressing
- Butterfly strips
- Cervical collars
- CPR masks
- Cravat bandages
- Dynarex Medicut sterile disposable scalpets #10
- EMT shears
- 4 oz eye wash
- IV catheters, 18, 20 and 22 G
- IV starter kits
- Medical adhesive tape rolls (2-3″)
- Trauma dressings
- Pain relievers, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Safety pins
- Stainless steel hemostats
- Size 6 suture needles
- Israeli Battle Dressing compression bandages
- Tounge depressors
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Abdominal pads
- Adhesive bandages and tape
- Aluminum splints
- Ambu bags
- Antibacterial ointment
- Antibiotics including zosyn and unasyn
- Antiseptic wipes
- Butterfly bandages
- Caffeine pills
- Chest seals
- Coban roll
- Cravat/triangular bandage
- Dressing materials, including gauze
- Elastic bandages
- Elastic wraps
- Emergency blankets
- IVF fluid
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Irrigation syringe
- Laryngeal tube
- Moleskin strips
- CPR mouthstrips
- Nasopharyngeal airway
- Needle and thread stored in isopropyl alcohol
- Plastic cling wrap
- Plastic films
- Pressure dressing
- Safety pins
- Saline eye drops
- Silk medical tape
- Trauma shears
- Petroleum jelly/vaseline
- Satellite phones
- Medical tactical backpacks