Jessica Vartanov's organized an initiative to help Ukrainian children.

Jessica Vartanov's organized an initiative to help Ukrainian children. Credit: Vartanov family

A Jericho High School student has been helping displaced children in Ukraine by coordinating efforts ranging from toy donations to English lessons.

Jessica Vartanov, a senior, is the founder of Global Ukraine, an initiative that strives to provide humanitarian aid to families in the eastern European country. She has provided free language services to more than 100 Ukrainian children via Zoom since launching her initiative in February.

Vartanov also recently collected more than 1,000 toys — ranging from stuffed animals to board games — for Ukranian children in partnership with Toys for Tots, a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

“I have a lot of cultural ties to Europe; my dad came as a child and my mom’s parents also immigrated here from Eastern Europe,” said Vartanov, 17, who is fluent in Russian. “I felt very strongly and upset about what was going on there, and I just wanted to take action and really do something to help.”

Vartanov’s other efforts included spending two weeks in Poland this summer volunteering to create first-aid kits for people on the front lines through the organization Ukraine Friends.

Vartanov is also vice president of her school’s Italian Honor Society and Souper Heroes Club (whose members volunteer at a soup kitchen); secretary of the Model Congress; and a member of the varsity tennis team and National Honor Society.

 — MICHAEL R. EBERT

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