Inspired by what they learned about the human impact of the war in Ukraine, members of Medford Girl Scout Cadette Troop 67712 packed medical supply kits to be sent to the region and collectively decided to donate a portion of their 2022 Girl Scout Cookie sales to Razom for Ukraine.
Troop 67712 from the Andrews Middle School and McGlynn Middle School in Medford, Massachusetts, met on Sunday, March 20, 2022 to sample Ukrainian food and learn about the unrest and the war besieging Ukraine from three guests offering different perspectives.
Timothy Longman, a Boston University professor of political science and Medford resident, provided a quick overview of Ukrainian history and explained the sources of the conflict. Anna Shanley, a Russian immigrant who lives in Medford, and Mariya Sudarska, a Ukrainian immigrant living in Allston, gave personal reflections on the war. Both came to the United States as children but have family back in the region. Ms. Sudarska talked about her family and relatives in Kyiv, Ukraine, who are safe for the moment but living in fear. Ms. Shanley explained that she, like many Russians, had Ukrainian relatives and friends. She reported that many of the people she has spoken with in Russia oppose the war but are afraid to speak out but that others support the invasion, because the government controls the information they receive.
Troop 67712 co-leader Tracy Keene said, “We thought it was necessary for our girls to learn about Ukraine. As we all are witnessing the inhumane saga and war that is occurring, we like so many others, want to show solidarity and do something to help. We thought of a small way to do this was to plan an event with the girls in our troop so they could better understand what they are seeing and hearing regarding the turmoil in this region of the world.”
After the presentations, the girls sampled potato dumplings (varenyky), borscht, sweet tea biscuit (korovka), crepes, pickles, imported fruit juices of sour cherry and birch sap, and other Ukrainian foods and snacks. The girls then put together packets of medical supplies. With monetary donations and donations of supplies of Vinyl Gloves, Surgical Dressing, Butterfly Closures Strips, Band Aids, Gauze Pads, Alcohol Wipes, and Antibiotic Ointment, the troop assembled over 50 medical kits. The troop has partnered with Wellesley Girls Scouts to send a large quantity of medical kits to the Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization. In working with the Wellesley Girl Scouts whose effort is being organized by second-generation Ukrainian and troop leader Tanya Lisowsky, these medical kits will be distributed across Ukraine to help the military and civilians. The troop learned of this project through a connection with Lucy Costa, the Wellesley Girl Scouts Service Unit Coordinator. Ms. Lisowsky has shared that these vacuum packed medical kits will be routed through New Jersey, then Poland, then onto Ukraine. Upon arrival in Ukraine, they will be routed via a “green corridor,” a defined area where there is safe passage of not only humanitarian aid, but civilians fleeing war.
Ms. Lisowsky stated, “The Ukrainian scouts in both the United States and Ukraine are in a unique position to provide immediate support to troops and refugees. If you’d like to learn more about the Ukrainian scouting organization or donate to their efforts, please visit https://aid.plastusa.org. Another way to donate is to shop this amazon wishlist for supplies so that the Scouts in the Boston area can continue to make medical kits.”
Troop leaders Tracy Keene, Diane Cervati, and Patricia Wheeler, all from Medford, organized this troop event in recognition of Girl Scouts World Thinking Day 2022. Established in 1926 by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, World Thinking Day offers troops the opportunity to learn about the world by thinking of each other and to support Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting around the world. With the unrest occurring in Ukraine, troop leaders felt it important and a sense of urgency to have the troop learn about this region, culture, and the unjust war occurring as part of their World Thinking Day project. According to Gwen Wheeler, “The event was important because we need to help others and be a sister to every Girl Scout. I enjoyed learning about Ukraine and tasting their food. I am sad that the Girl Guides there are living in fear and are afraid.”
The girls in the troop have decided to give a portion of their earnings from the 2022 Girl Scouts Cookie season to be sent to Razom for Ukraine (https://razomforukraine.org). Razom was born out of the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 when millions of people worked together and risked their lives to build a pathway to a better future for Ukraine. Razom, which means “together” in Ukrainian, serves as a constant reminder of the community that it takes to create, build and do, to stay the path towards a more prosperous and democratic Ukraine. A matching request will be sent to troop parents to augment the their generous contribution.