Posted on Jan 15, 2023
Ivan with Flash
In December 2022 the House of Ukraine in San Diego was looking for a host family for Ivan, a 16-year old Ukrainian who was injured by a Russian tank while he and his family were on their way home from the grocery store. Unfortunately, his stepfather was killed by the tank and Ivan lost a leg. Ivan is in the United States through the support of a collaboration between a foundation established by the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, and the US-based Right to Walk foundation.  
Ivan arrived in San Diego in September 2022 with Olena, a social worker who was empowered by Ivan’s mother and the Ukrainian Embassy to act as Ivan’s chaperone. Olena has also worked as a journalist and is studying psychology to help those coping with trauma associated with the war. Ivan is receiving physical therapy and will soon undergo another surgery on his leg. He is enrolled in the San Diego Union High School District adaptive education program and is working hard to master English.  
Kathy Reed generously opened her home to both Ivan and Olena. Her Bernese mountain dog Flash is particularly fond of having Ivan share his home.