[Want to help? go to What Can I do?]

My name is Viktoria (Vika for short), and I am originally from Ukraine, along with my son Misha.   I lived in the beautiful city of Odessa. I worked as a physiotherapy-rehabilitation doctor at a rehabilitation center for children with special needs. Misha attended a kindergarten for children with special needs and received ABA therapy because he has autism. 

We lived a peaceful, measured, and fulfilling life. We had plans and dreams. But on February 24, 2022, our life was divided into before and after. We woke up to explosions and sirens. War began in our country. We spent almost all our time in bomb shelters due to constant shelling. Later, problems arose with food, medications, and gasoline. We were in constant fear and anxiety. 

Due to constant nervous tension, Misha’s condition deteriorated. I realized that I needed to take care of my son. On an evacuation train, we headed to western Ukraine, to the city of Lviv, where we were welcomed into a rehabilitation center for children with special needs, which now served as a shelter for many families who had to leave the active combat zone. Even here, it was not safe. Sirens and explosions could still be heard, albeit in the distance. Misha became more nervous and restless. Due to the lack of sessions with specialists, his developmental progress declined. I decided to take action. 

Through social media, I began to look for a country where a child with special needs would be comfortable and where my son could go to school and work with the specialists necessary for his development. Most importantly, I looked for a country where we would be safe. That’s how I learned about the Uniting for Ukrainians program offered through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. I am very grateful to the people who helped us come here, to everyone who has supported us, and to everyone who continues to support us. Kindness, sincerity, responsiveness, and the care of everyone we meet along the way inspire us to believe in our bright future.

Vika and Misha live in Fuquay-Varina, and we have the opportunity to help these refugees and new neighbors adjust to life in our community.  There are tangible ways you can help:

            1) Vika needs consistent employment.  Ultimately, she would like to work either in nursing or with special needs children, but she needs consistent work now that pays the bills.  If you have any ideas or leads, please contact Pastor Kim at pastorkim@doveandcross.org.

            2) Rides to church and other appointments.  Vika and Misha would like to come to church.  They live in a house close to Cultivate and Vicious Fishes.  If you would be willing to provide rides to church, please contact Jill Meissner at wjmeissner@gmail.com or (813) 469-6160.  If you can provide rides on other days to other appointments (doctor’s appointments, immigration services, etc.), please contact Pastor Kim at pastorkim@doveandcross.org.

            3) Financial support. One of our spiritual disciplines during Lent is almsgiving.  That means giving specifically to those in need.  To help Vika and Misha with essentials like groceries and Uber rides while she is searching for stable work and a vehicle, you can make a donation to APLC and put “Vika” on the memo line.  Click Here for online Giving.

Thank you so much for your caring support.