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South Florida groups rally in support of Ukraine, leaving the classroom for online teaching

Courtesy of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Miami on Sunday, February 27, 2022.

We hear from a couple of different groups in South Florida who have links to Ukraine. And their efforts to help those in need on the ground. Plus, a teacher who left the classroom to teach online and create her own curriculum of decolonized history.

On this Monday, February 28, edition of Sundial:

South Florida groups rally in support of Ukraine

It’s been four days since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

We’ve seen explosions, air raids and more than half a million people flee the country.

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There are reports from Ukrainian officials that dozens of civilians have been killed and hundreds more wounded when Russian forces attacked Ukraine’s second-largest city Monday.

“It's almost a reenactment of the invasion of the Russians into Ukraine back in 1939,” said Paul Galadza, the deacon at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Miami, whose family fled their village in western Ukraine in the 1940s to flee communism.

“I would like [people] to understand the uncertainty that these people must feel…There are scenes on TV of a father handing his daughter over to his wife, who's getting on a train and heading to, supposedly, safety in western Ukraine, although that may not be the case. And then going on to Poland and not knowing if he will ever see them again,” he added.

The U.S. and other western countries have responded with economic sanctions against Russia – staggering its economy.

Diplomatic talks between Ukraine and Russia happened Monday but ended without a breakthrough.

Russia’s war with Ukraine coincides with the season of the Great Lent for many eastern Christians. It’s a time of mourning, fasting and abstinence.

“As we begin Lent, we dedicate our prayer, our fasting and our good deeds to peace in Ukraine. And we pray for that earnestly,” said Galadza. “Historically, Ukraine has turned to the Blessed Mother for protection during times like these. Historically, we've been invaded many, many times and miraculously our country has been spared to the intercession of our prayers.”

Organizations here in South Florida have mobilized to help those who are on the ground––in the midst of war.

“[What] is seen today in many ways is a PTSD not only for all of Ukrainians but certainly for the Jewish community and those elderly Jews who the last thing they remember were Nazi and Russian tanks coming through in 1939,” said Matt Levin, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.

The organization set up a donation mailbox to help those who are in need.

“Right now, the key is getting that food, medicine, making sure that those elderly people who are trapped in apartment buildings alone, living alone, those who are poor or those who don't have and meet and depend on our partner agencies, getting them the resources necessary,” said Levin.

He added that depending on how things play out we may see an emigration to Israel from Ukrainian Jews.

Find more ways to support the people in Ukraine here.

South Florida groups rally in support of Ukraine

Leaving the classroom for online teaching

With the pandemic and staffing shortages, many teachers have decided to leave the profession, whether it’s for a job in another field, retiring early or continuing to teach outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Iman Alleyne is one of those teachers. She left her job as an in-person teacher in Fort Lauderdale and is now teaching online on Outschool, an online learning platform.

She also developed her own curriculum about Black history from a decolonized perspective.

Find more about her teaching and the micro-school she’s opening in South Florida here.

leaving the classroom for online teaching

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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.