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Local efforts show support to Ukraine through sunflowers

Frank Sedita Academy showed support to a Ukrainian teacher at the school. There will also be a Sunflowers event for Ukraine at the Dnipro Cultural Center.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Hope has many forms. At Frank Sedita Academy, it's in hundreds of sunflowers. 

"We've been studying the war in one of my literacy classes because the kids had a lot of questions about it," said Selena Borek, a teacher at Frank Sedita Academy. 

Borek says one of the things they learned is that Ukraine is one of the top sunflower producers in the world. 

Another tugged at their hearts. 

"As we were talking, I actually brought up Mrs. Yarmolenko and told them she's actually from Ukraine and has family there, and they were really touched and inspired by that," Borek said. 

Borek's students were inspired to show support for Ukraine, but especially Yuliya Yarmolenko-Nixon, an English as a New Language teacher at their school, who has many Ukrainians on her mind right now. 

They got all of Frank Sedita Academy to line the hallways near Yarmolenko-Nixon's classroom with sunflowers, providing something even greater to her. 

"When I came up the stairs, I couldn't hold back my tears because it is so touching, and it means so much to see how this school, and I see how the whole city in general and the whole world are supporting Ukraine so much because the Ukrainian people are a peaceful people," Yarmolenko-Nixon said. 

An inspiring symbol of Ukraine at Frank Sedita is also extending over to the Buffalo's Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center on March 30 at 5:30 p.m.

"What I try to do is create a sunflower that you can make very easily," said Deanna Derhak, who is with the center. 

The Sunflowers for Ukraine event is inviting the public to come create a sunflower for $40 and contribute to an even bigger mission. 

You can sign up here. 

"All proceeds are going to Ukraine and specifically for our Save a Life campaign, which is to buy tactical medicine and help the soldiers and civilians literally in the war zone to save their lives," Derhak said. "First, save those lives. Second, win the war."

It's a mission to provide hope to a place that needs it in all forms. 

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