To the editor:
Last April we were asked if we would host a Ukrainian refugee family who had recently arrived in Lynn after fleeing Kyiv. Like many others, we were horrified by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and the opportunity to share our home with Oxana and her five-year old son Artem was something we were happy and eager to do.
As they are now preparing to move into their own home in Wakefield, closer to Oxana’s job, we want to take the opportunity to thank the community of friends, neighbors, and businesses who generously supported them during this past year.
As soon as they arrived at our home, Oxana and Artem were welcomed with gifts of clothes, toys, gift cards, and special treats. Friends offered them transportation until Oxana received her driver’s license. One friend even drove Oxana to and from New York so that she could renew her passport! The Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA generously offered them full access to their facilities and classes, and National Grand Bank opened an account for Oxana and helped her to begin establishing credit in the U.S.
We would like to extend a special thank you to the Marblehead Children’s Center for their love and generosity in welcoming Artem into their community. When he started going to the center, giving Oxana time to acquire the documentation she needed to be able to work in the U.S., he was a frail and traumatized child who was frightened to leave his mother’s side. He spoke no English, so he was unable to communicate with anyone but her.
Despite these challenges, he was welcomed and embraced by the teachers, staff, and other children with kindness and patience. And, slowly but surely, Artem blossomed into the confident and exuberant child he is today. We recently dropped Artem off at the Children’s Center for the day, and we were amazed at how confidently and proudly he showed us around! He has made many friends and he is increasingly able to talk with them, and us, in English.
On behalf of Oxana and Artem, we would like to thank Gail Arsenault, Karen Bird, Maura Phelan, Lyn Doran, and the entire Marblehead Children’s Center community of teachers, parents, and children for giving Artem such a wonderful start to his life in the U.S. You are living your mission of supporting families while promoting a lifelong love of learning, and we are truly grateful for your support of this special child.
Jim and Lynn Bryant