“When people first started showing up…most of them were able to afford the hotel and only stayed one night and were traveling west,” Harper said. “And now we’re taking in people who have nowhere to go. They’re not that rich, they literally show up with the clothes on their backs and a passport. »
She said they told stories of people sleeping in hallways because of explosions shaking windows and car alarms constantly going off from bombs shaking the ground. She uses her Cedarville education to help refugees in their transition.
“One of the things my teacher taught me is that as social workers, we don’t need to have all the answers, we just need to ask the right questions. And using this skill helped me build relationships with Ukrainians and gave me a better understanding of their situation,” she said.
Supporting Ukrainians has become a priority for Oksana Knapp, a Ukrainian who lived in Huber Heights for a few years when she first moved to America. She said watching the Russian invasion left her devastated.
“I don’t sleep or even eat. I just read the news and called my friends and family in Ukraine,” she said.
Knapp has participated in rallies in support of Ukraine, such as the one held in downtown Dayton on Sunday. She has also sent money to organizations helping Ukrainians and is collecting clothes and supplies to donate to Matthew 25 Ministries in Cincinnati, who will then ship them to Ukraine.
“It’s my small contribution and what I can do from so far away,” said Knapp, who now lives in Blanchester. “The only thing I can do is send money and help with packages. It makes me feel like I’m doing something, and I understand that’s not the same as fighting in Ukraine.
The Montgomery County Administrative Building was lit up this week in blue and yellow, the same color as the Ukrainian flag, in support of the country. A Montgomery County family also waves a Ukrainian flag next to an American flag outside their home in Oakwood to show their support.
The resident said they had worked abroad and had Ukrainian friends. She said they started flying the Ukrainian flag as a sign of solidarity.
“My interaction with my friends who are from Ukraine, they are just really good people,” she said. “I currently have a friend who has a family member she hasn’t heard of yet; it just hits home.