Spring Valley Students Spread Christmas Cheer to Ukrainian Students

Ukrainian students studying at Kettering College will be missing home this holiday season, so when third- and fourth-grade students at Spring Valley Academy (SVA) learned of this, they wanted to help them feel the warmth and love that comes with Christmas.

Liza Da Cunha is a third-grade teacher at SVA, and every year her class has a service project. She says, “The hope is students to be Jesus’ hands and feet to those in need.” This year, Da Cunha’s class wanted their project to serve Kettering College’s students from Ukraine. She says, “Because we wanted to make sure each of the 25 students got a gift bag, we asked both the third and fourth grades to work together.”

Sarah Bayer, Kettering College Associate Registrar, has a daughter in Da Cunha’s class. Bayer worked with Da Cunha to come up with ideas for what items might be helpful to give and how and when to deliver them to the dorms. Da Cunha says, “I am so thankful to Sarah because she made this large project feel achievable.”

The students decided giving practical everyday items such as:  Shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, snacks, fuzzy socks, and gloves, would be the most beneficial, as Ukrainian students don’t always have easy access to transportation.

Da Cunha says, “All the kids were very excited about this project. I loved seeing their faces as they turned in their donations. One student brought in six bottles of men’s body wash because he said his dad was eager to help.”

Judith Mendoza, Associate Director of Residential Life, coordinated a time for the SVA students to visit the dorms with the presents they were so excited to give. The young students have been reflecting on the project, saying how great it felt to give. The Ukrainian students were grateful, surprised, and touched by the kind gesture.

The SVA students often ask Da Cunha if their class can pray for the Ukrainian students, whom they know are here without their families. During this season of gift giving, it is inspiring to see children understand the power of giving the gift of loving one another. Da Cunha says, “It is my hope that it may inspire others to share the love of Jesus.”

(All Photos Courtesy of Liz Da Cunha and Sarah Bayer)


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