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  • Writer's pictureJim Holmes

Summer 2023 Update

Thank You!

Dear Uniting for Ukraine Rogue Valley Supporter. You're receiving this email because you've graciously supported our mission to bring Ukrainian families out of harm’s way and resettle them in the Rogue Valley over the past year.

THANK YOU!! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

Your donations have enabled us to provide critical support to 20 families and individual Ukrainians, nearly 50 total, who've come to our region to escape conflict, find safe harbor, and temporarily resettle in our region.

We at Uniting for Ukraine Rogue Valley (U4URV) want to share some updates on what your donations and support have meant for our local Ukrainian guests.

Local Ukrainian Support Organizations

Before continuing, we want to ensure you understand the difference between the two organizations in the Rogue Valley working to help Ukrainians: Our own Uniting for Ukraine Rogue Valley (U4URV) and the Ashland-Sviatohirsk Aid Project (ASAP).

Uniting for Ukraine Rogue Valley focuses on bringing Ukrainian families and individuals out of the war zone, arranging transportation to the US, and resettlement in the Rogue Valley. Once here, a core of host families and volunteers ensure basic needs are met for housing, food, jobs, communication, health, and transportation.

ASAP focuses on helping Ashland's Ukrainian sister city, Sviatohirsk, restore its infrastructure after the incredible damage done by Russian forces in the area. Donations to ASAP go to help those in Sviatohirsk, Ukraine.

Although we support each other’s missions, we are not affiliated.

Our Guests

U4URV has directly sponsored families and individuals, plus we've incorporated other families who arrived here by other means. We're currently assisting 20 families and individuals, totaling 50 Ukrainians!

Since arriving, our guests have made tremendous strides toward self-sufficiency. Nearly all of our guests have secured driver's licenses; several have (with U4URV’s assistance) purchased cars. This enables them to provide their own transportation, making them more employable and reducing the burden upon hosts and other volunteers. Some of our guests are gainfully employed in a wide range of jobs—we have guests in roles including physicians, bookkeepers, mechanics, and muralists!

Our guests’ children are all enrolled and active in various schools in the area; many children are also involved in activities from rock climbing classes to camps at the YMCA and ScienceWorks. Many adult guests have embraced learning opportunities for English as a Second Language (ESL), either through our network of tutors or at Rogue Community College.

An integral part of our mission at the outset was to provide a community for these traumatized individuals. We know how much our guests value community because they never want to leave at the end of our events. Thus, we have committed to providing an opportunity to gather every 2 weeks. We have had pizza parties, potlucks, and concerts. We even had a float and marched in the 4th of July parade! We also flew in a War Trauma expert to provide a workshop for our guests!

Financial Support Highlights

We've had an incredible outpouring of support since starting our effort in May of 2022. To date, we've received $175,000 in direct cash support for our Ukrainian guests! We've spent over $140,000 to help our Ukrainians settle and meet basic needs.

Some highlights:

  • $45,000 dedicated to housing families

  • $21,250 grants for cars to provide independent transportation

  • $12,000 transportation to the US

  • $5,500 for immigration fees and legal assistance

  • $7,500 cash support for Christmas 2022

  • $5,500 general housing (moving assistance, deposits, etc.)

  • $4,500 job support (tools, services, etc., to help Ukrainians get employed)

  • $7,500 activities and life enrichment such as camps, courses, etc.

  • $2,000 medical and healthcare

  • $9,000 in support of fundraising and cultural events

  • $7,000 for our two community coordinators who spend their time directly serving our guests—none of U4URV’s “administrative” expenses go to overhead.

Moving Forward - Expanding Our Focus

Initially, U4URV's focus was getting Ukrainians through the US's Customs and Immigration Service (UCIS) process, then transported to the Rogue Valley, where we could arrange shelter and address initial security/safety issues.

Our focus now is helping our Ukrainian guests become self-sufficient in all aspects of their lives. As such, we're helping them learn or improve basic English skills so that they're able to take advantage of their work permits and search for employment. We've added Dr. Ron Sand to our board, and he's focusing on helping our guests access the medical care they need.

We will continue to support our guests in finding housing, covering basic needs such as emergency medical, clothing, job seeking, etc. We're also helping cover some of the food costs as current benefits such as SNAP are limited. We're also earmarking funds to help our guests return home when the time comes.

Here’s How You Can Help - Let’s Do It Again!

Our budget for the next 12 months is $113,500. We need your help!

Financial donations are crucial for us. You can support us via GoFundMe or checks. Find information on our Donations page on our site!

We're also hosting several fund-raising activities, including a repeat of last year's wonderful Music Festival. We're tentatively targeting 14 October 2023. Please monitor our site for announcements.

Other ways you can help:

  • Host a family! Do you have space in an Auxiliary Dwelling Unit or second home? We have families and individuals in need of a place to live!

  • Sponsor a Family! Consider "adopting" a family or individual. We have organizations such as Rotary, churches, etc., who handle all support needs for their guest families.

  • Hire a Ukrainian! We have guests looking for jobs ranging from heavy construction to bookkeeping to contracting/handyman to restaurant servers. Please reach out if you have a job opening or know someone who does. All of our guests can work legally in the US.

  • Volunteer! U4URV always needs people willing to fill various roles on our committee.

  • Spread the Word! Help us broaden our reach by telling your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors about the excellent opportunity to help our Ukrainian guests.

How Can You Reach Us?

We'd love to hear from you. Please reach out via email or our site's Contact form!

Wrapping Up

Thank you from the bottom of all our hearts! You've helped us accomplish something extraordinary: bringing nearly 50 individuals out of a war zone and providing them with safety and security. It may be off the front pages, but the war rages on in Ukraine! Let’s continue this wonderful work together!

We look forward to seeing you at one of our various events. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have questions or are looking for ways to help support our work.

Slava Ukraini!

Scott Bandoroff, Founder and President of the Board

Denise Crosby, Secretary (Board of Directors)

Jim Holmes, Treasurer (Board of Directors)

Lucie Scheuer, Member at Large (Board of Directors)

Dr. Ron Sand, Member at Large (Board of Directors)

Tim Dolan, Member at Large (Board of Directors)

Angela Escamilles, Case Coordinator

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