Dunn School hopes to raise $240,000 for emergency scholarship fund
Dunn School has started its own effort to help Ukraine.
The Los Olivos boarding and day school has established the Emergency Ukrainian Student Scholarship.
The project supports current students from Ukraine and is designed to bring additional displaced Ukrainian students to Dunn School. The initial goal is to raise $240,000 for students from Ukraine to board at Dunn for a full school year. That would cover tuition, room and boarding, as well as school supplies, living expenses and homestay support during school breaks, according to a news release.
To donate to the fund, go to dunnschool.org/ukraine or call the school’s Office of Philanthropy at 805-686-0627. One hundred percent of donations will go directly to educating Ukrainian students displaced by the war, according to the school.
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the students at the school included Zlata Mitchell, whose mother is Ukrainian journalist Olia Freimut.
Ms. Freimut had doubts when she sent Zlata to Dunn School because it was so far from Ukraine.
But she recently said she was thankful for the decision in light of the war.
“She has food, she has friends. She has a community, teachers, the best professionals around her, and for me, right now, I’m so happy she is in a safe place,” Ms. Freimut said in the news release.
Kalyan Balaven, the head of school at Dunn, said there was no question the school would do everything possible to support Zlata and continue her education in Los Olivos. “The question was what we were prepared to do to help Ukrainian students whose learning had come to a halt during this tragic time.
“The answer is in the strength of our community rallying together to help as many students as possible continue their education,” Mr. Balavaen said.
Nearly three million people have fled from Ukraine during the invasion, and most of them leave everything behind.
“Every single morning I look up, and I look at the news, then I start calling everybody I love,” Ms. Freimut said. “My father, it’s my mother, it’s my brother … my friends. My best friend, she’s still in Kyiv. …
“Every time, I’m looking at the phone saying, ‘Please answer, please answer,’ and if they’re not answering, I’m just losing my mind, because they are in shelters underground for a lot of days with small kids and no food.”
Ms. Freimut expressed support for the idea of bringing more Ukrainians to Dunn School.
“For us, America is like paradise,” Ms. Freimut said. “People think that if you’re in America, you’re safe, you are in a proper society, you won’t be bombed tomorrow. For kids who are suffering so much during this awful horrible time, it will be a nice prize to go and feel very important and share their minds and experience with local societies.”