DENVER — Kids from Ukraine flew into Denver on Wednesday night to start a two-week vacation in Colorado. Most of them have lost a father in the Russian invasion. One girl's mother was taken hostage by the Russian army.
A nonprofit in Colorado, Ukraine Aid Fund, paid for their trip to give them a chance to get away from a country at war. Members of the National Guard of Ukraine reached out to the group with the idea.
"It's trips to take their minds off of what is happening in Ukraine and take their attention towards something more positive," said Alina Tatkov, a member of the board of directors for Ukraine Aid Fund.
Tatkov anxiously kept a close eye on a flight from Germany. After some delays and a 10-hour flight, she's ready to welcome 14 kids from Ukraine.
"They sent us a picture from the airport in Poland, and you know some of the moms said, 'Wow, that is the first time I have seen a smile in 11 months,'" she said.
Her nonprofit helps kids whose parents have been killed in the war or are seriously hurt. They paid for the Colorado vacation so the children can find an escape.
Every child will stay with a host family. They will go on a number of adventures like tubing, hiking and visiting the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Oleksiy Malin and his daughter, Kseniia, couldn't wait to see the boy they were hosting for the trip. The boy's father was seriously hurt in the war, and he's still in the hospital.
"My family is safe, but my heart is still in Ukraine with these poor kids who [are] under attack right now," Malin said.
Love for a country brought them to Denver's airport. The crowd waited at the international terminal with flags and signs to greet the kids. Most of the kids had never been on a plane before.
"Ukrainians who also have kids it is hard to talk about, you know, without crying," Tatkov said. "We have kids. It could have been us there with our kids."
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