Over 50 Ukrainian children spent the weekend at a Killeen camp, strengthening their community, 6,000 miles from home

The camp put on by Peaceable Kingdom by Variety and Rotary District 5870 sought to bring those displaced in Texas, closer together.
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Roughly 50 Ukrainian children and their parents gathered in Central Texas for a weekend long camp meant to build community for those finding refuge from the war.

Peaceable kingdom by variety and rotary district 5870 teamed up to host the camp and its visitors in Killeen.

Six months into the war between Ukraine and Russia, many families find themselves displaced here in Texas with no real community or support system.

Peaceable Kingdom by Variety and Rotary District 5870 noticed this and sought out to do something for those living so far from what they’re used to.

The weekend long camp in Killeen was all about creating relationships, promoting social skills and furthering English language development.

For the children and their families, this time was best spent together…able to focus on the good in life rather than the negative.

“It was definitely some ray of light for him. Knowing there is someone else that speaks his language and understands him,” said Mriia Miroshnichenko, a Ukrainian refugee living in Austin with her son.

When leaving Ukraine with her son, Miroshnichenko thought they’d only be gone for a few weeks.

Now living in Austin, six months later, it’s been tough for her to make connections 6,000 miles from home.

After being immersed by her home country, those connections are some she says she’ll always cherish.

“They started to connect with each other and create friendships that’ll take them beyond this weekend. So many of them are just carrying the weight. So many of them have families back home so that’s been a huge part of this as well,” said Rotary 5870 District Governor, Shannon Coleman.

With the weekend coming to a close, these families will return to their refuge homes in Austin, Houston and San Antonio with a better sense of community and belonging.

Miroshnichenko has been open about events with her son and says that he doesn’t wish to return to his home country with the current state of the war.

“You know, my heart is breaking when my 13-year-old son says ‘not because there are a lot of toys, not because there are friends but because there is no war’,” said Miroshnichenko

Just speaking with some of those families, you could tell this weekend was something they needed both for themselves and their children.