Roscommon Middle School Holding Fundraiser for Former Ukrainian Students
Roscommon Middle School is holding a special fundraiser for two former students who are now war refugees in Europe.
“While they were here, I had the pleasure of having Nicole as a third grader for their first year here,” said Michelle Maloney, who is now the Roscommon Middle School principal. “I got to know the family very well.”
Maloney also had Ivan as a student in the 2020-2021 school year.
“Ivan is a wonderful, brilliant young boy, who has definitely left an impact on my life,” Maloney said. “Just a really happy and go-lucky child.”
Nicole made a friend when she first moved to Roscommon in the third grade named Brooklyn Weinel.
“She came about in the middle of the year, and she sat kind of close to me in class, and I just like started talking to her and that’s what made us friends,” Weinel, now in 5th grade, said. “We both like dogs and we have a sibling.”
Nicole and Ivan moved to Los Angeles last April, before relocating back to Ukraine with their mom, Inna.
Now, with the current invasion from Russia, the Sytnyks have fled from the country and have stayed in refugee camps in Poland and Germany.
“Hearing about the things in the news that are going on with Ukraine, and I started reaching out to mom over Facebook messenger,” said Maloney. “Hearing how mom and two children fled together over to Poland. It was a long 17 hour trip, and I remember just waiting by phone to hear if they made it ok.”
Weinel said she keeps in touch with Nicole through an app called Telegram.
“I’ve been asking her like how bad it is in Ukraine and if she’s ever coming back to America,” she said. “One day she showed me videos of her seeing the bombs and tanks driving down the road, and she took a video of that and sent it to me.”
The Sytnyk family in Los Angeles started a PayPal account to send support to help Nicole, Ivan, and Inna relocate to the U.S.
“As they come into the country, they’ll have two weeks of housing provided for them, and then after that, it’s really our PayPal donations that will go for food, shelter, and clothing,” Maloney said.
Maloney wanted to help the family too, so she started a fundraiser for the family at Roscommon Middle School.
“Previous teachers and I have rallied to send some funds that way, and then we sent it out to our Roscommon Middle School community and asking parents yesterday,” said Maloney. “We had over 90 shares last night on our post, and people were asking for the PayPal link to send even if they aren’t in the district.”
Weinel told Nicole that Roscommon Middle School was doing a fundraiser for her family.
“I told her that there was a whole entire fundraiser at the school for her and Ivan and her mom, and she said ‘Oh my gosh.’,” Weinel said.
The class that donates the most money by March 17 will get the chance to spray Maloney with silly string.
While Maloney said the kids are looking forward to that prize, the money is all going to a great cause.
“It really shows our Roscommon pride in our small community, and just our love for our students and making sure we’re showing support,” she said.
Weinel said her friend Nicole means a whole lot to her.
“I want to give my whole entire bank account to her because she had to leave her brand new dog, all of her clothes, all her food, and she even had to leave her dad who’s fighting Russia from Ukraine,” she said. “I hope that she could move back to Michigan and come back to this school and get all the clothes that she needs and all the food. Maybe if there is enough, she could probably buy a house or a shelter or something that she could feel safe in.”
If you would like to donate, you can send donations via PayPal to: