After reading Night, by Elie Wiesel, I couldn't imagine that something as horrendous as the Holocaust could happen. That people could participate, conspire, or do nothing while millions of innocent people are murdered.

On February 24, 2022, I started my day by reading headlines from the news. I liked to go to the Irish Times to see what was going on in Ireland and their spin on things happening in the US. On this day, I did not expect to read about a country sending their military into another country and the following days to read about mass graves, torturing, rapes, occupying, kidnapping of children, and other crimes against humanity that Russian soldiers were committing with the encouragement of their "President" (aka dictator).

Reading Holocaust memoirs, I always feared the "what if" question 'what if I lived then?' Would I have risked my life to shelter Jews, would I have protested the government knowing I could be killed...I wanted to believe I would do everything I could to help. So I knew I could not stand by and live safely in the US thousands of miles from Ukraine and not having any personal ties to Ukraine. When civilians, especially children, are being targets, it is a crime happening to every single person in the world. I couldn't turn my head.

Thanksgiving of 2022, I found Welcome.US which lead me to read about the Department of Homeland Securities and President Biden's program U4U (Uniting for Ukraine). I instantly signed up for Welcome.US.

This is how I started my journey as a sponsor. I applied to be sponsor of Artem a few days after being accepted onto Welcome Connect.

I first started Uniting for Artem, Danylo, and Ukraine, thinking I was going to sponsor a [then] 27-year-old named Danylo from Mariupol. I had jumped the gun on the name because he was able to find a sponsor before I could officially agree. On Christmas of 2022, Uniting for Artem, Nataliia, and Ukraine was started when I filed the I-134 to sponsor Nataliia.

As mentioned in, Our Story, I started UforANU as a private fund. Then in October of 2023, I decided to change the fund to a public non-profit fund so I could raise money for non-profits that were providing humanitarian aid that I couldn't in Ukraine or to the thousands of refugees in the US. Helping just two, just doesn't feel enough. Feel like I can do more and that I should.

Thanks to the internet, I have been able to navigate the process of becoming a non-profit. Now that we are registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, I have been thinking of fundraiser ideas. Currently working on visibility to the public for more donors and volunteers.

Hometown: Fleming Island, FL

Education:   Masters of Science in Emerging Media from Dublin City University (2020)

                        Bachelors of Journalism in Broadcast Journalism (2015)