Be Human. Be Kind.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed humans can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead
Meet Katie. A Texas mother of 4 from Fort Worth, Texas. Katie and her husband Matt became connected to Ukraine in 2015 through an international host program that brings Ukrainian orphans to America for short-term placement in families. Katie and Matt hosted their first Ukrainian orphan in December 2016. They quickly fell in love and started the international adoption process to adopt their 15-year-old "son". Unfortunately their adoption was not finalized. However, their family hosted several more Ukrainian orphans over the years. During this time, Katie visited Ukraine and fell in love with the culture and country.
As soon as the war started, through her relationships with Ukrainian based orphanages, adoption agencies and faith based organizations, Katie started fundraising and delivering humanitarian aid inside Ukraine. Her fundraising efforts allowed for a local church in the Nickolaev region, to purchase a 13 passenger van to evacuate people to the closest borders. Generous donations from friends and family were used to purchase hundreds of food items needed for families waiting to evacuate.
After weeks of assisting the Humanitarian crisis from aboard, Katie traveled to Warsaw, Poland. She worked with non-profits providing immediate need for shelter, food and safety. Katie housed refugee families in a local church and assisted in their relocation to 4 countries across Europe. She also spent numerous days in the Warsaw train stations connecting with refugee families and helping fund immediate needs such as transportation, child care and housing. Katie also spent time on the Medyka border, the largest border crossing out of Ukraine, welcoming families who left their homes and lives behind and traveled to another country with nothing but what they can carry. These experiences provided her with a comprehensive view of the refugee crisis and the complicated network of services needed for refugees to relocate.
It was during this time on the front line that Katie noticed the urgent need for humanitarian aid and services for resettlement assistance for refugees. BeHumanKindness was founded from this experience and the time she spent with refugees hearing their stories and future hopes.
Meet Maryna. Maryna was the first person BEHUMANKINDNESS shared our vision for a comprehensive refugee aid organization with. Since that moment her commitment to our mission is unmatched. Maryna is a strong, confident woman who has the uncanny ability to walk into the chaos of this crisis and command whatever situation we encounter. Her ability to educate and empower the refugee families we meet, creates an immediate connection that earns their respect for our program and our success. This is what continues to grow our impact on the ground. BEHUMANKINDNESS is a well renown Non Profit in Warsaw because of Maryna's professional nature, always advocating fiercely for her fellow Ukrainians.
Maryna's understanding of the refugee process and what is most needed for her fellow Ukrainians, is a constant source of knowledge that Non Profits, governments and decisions makers eagerly seek. Her intellect and effective communication is helping rewrite policies and programs for Ukrainian's, in Poland and all over the world. Aside from her professional impact, Maryna is the member of the team all the kids love. She is constantly reading books, using her humor to lighten the hard conversations and building trust with the vulnerable children of war. Everyday Maryna goes out of her way to return the innocence of childhood to the children we help. Her legacy will be carried all over the world in the return of the smiles and laughter in these kids.
She is a professional business woman from Kyiv, Ukraine. Maryna has a Bachelor of Finance Degree from Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics. She speaks four languages and is active in many organizations in her community. Maryna is the Co-Founder of Green Century. Founded in 2020 , Green Century is an energy services non-profit based in Ukraine. Before the war, Maryna was actively employed as a Project manager for a manufacturing company.
On February 24, 2022 Maryna's life changed forever. From the moment the war started in Ukraine, Maryna never returned back to her full-time job. She spent nine days hiding in bomb shelters and waiting in food lines to feed her mom and neighbors. Maryna crossed into Poland on Thursday, March 24 with nothing more than a suitcase filled with essential items.
Maryna is a Refugee.
Meet Olena. Olena is going into her fifth month at BEHUMANKINDNESS. In the first three months, she along with her sister have relocated and helped over 1000 Ukrainian families. She has built relationships with numerous Global Non Profits, had meetings with members of the UK parliament, Polish & Ukrainian governments & embassies, navigated and conquered the complicated relocation programs of numerous countries and built BEHUMANKINDNESS from the ground up.
Aside, from all of those notable accomplishments, her impact is most significant in her daily interactions with the families we help. Olena is always the soft spoken member of the team. She quickly became labeled our, "Crisis Manager" because of her gift with working with the most vulnerable cases we encounter. Olena is intuitive and reflective during our first encounters with families, watching and internalizing their unique story. It is in those moments, that her quiet nature attracts the guarded mother to ask for help, or the broken child to finally laugh. Her ability to make the most hurt, wounded and vulnerable Ukrainians trust others makes her a valuable member to our team. She is a true angel and forever friend to the families we work with.
Olena is a professional businesswoman from Kyiv, Ukraine. Olena has a Master of Science in Sociology from Taras Shevvhenko National University of Kyiv. Olena speaks four languages. She is currently enrolled at the The International Institute of Depth Psychology and is actively working on developing a support program for workers with Multiple Sclerosis. Olena has worked for the Ukrainian government as Deputy Director for the implementation of state policies for consumer rights. She is the Co-Founder of Green Century, a non-profit focused on sustainable development and economic inclusion.
On February 24, 2022 Olena's life changed instantly. Olena never returned back to her full-time job or to the University she was enrolled. She spent nine days hiding, with her sister, in bomb shelters and waiting in food lines. Olena crossed into Poland on March, 24 after a 10 hour journey. She had nothing but a suitcase and the pair of shoes she was wearing.
Olena is a Refugee; most importantly she is a Ukrainian who has brought so much hope and healing to her country.
Administator/ Case Manager
Tanya was born into a christian home in Lviv Ukraine, where no one was a stranger to taking care of others. Her family formed beautiful communal living where those in need could come and seek refuge or any form of assistance. Growing up, her home was a happy place full of life where God's love was always felt in the actions of her parents and grandparents.
Tanya relocated to the USA with her family in 1998, she was just a child at age of 11. Her parents wanted to provide the best possible future for her and her siblings in the land of opportunity. Adjustment period was quite difficult since parents had to work difficult and long hours to provide for the family. Tanya had to grow up very quickly as she was taking care of the house and her siblings. Her family assimilated well into American culture and were able to grow a successful construction business where children learned a strong work ethic and hard work from their parents. Tanya greatly admires her parents for the selfless sacrifice they have made to relocate the family which turned out to be the biggest blessing and brought valued fortune. Tanya worked in the banking sector as a personal banker, she studied accounting at Texas Christian University and now continues her studies at Western Governors University.
Growing up in a care focused environment left a prominent imprint on her life of seeing the need and prompts to serve others. Tanya is passionate about making an impact in broken circumstances and always remains a strong believer in actions of small kind gestures that when combined the force moves mountains. Tanya longs for her Ukrainian family and friends that are enduring hardships of war, she feels honored to be part of BeHumanKindness, an incredible organization which cares to make the world a better place.
Home Away from Home House Manager
Meet Yana. Yana and her daughter, Katya, are originally from Zelenodolsk, Ukraine. She is a graduate of the Odessa National Polytechnic University specializing in thermal power plants engineering. Until very recently, Yana has worked as a commercial agent at the Cisdnieper Railways, a regional operator of the Ukrainian Railways, headquartered in Dnipro. She worked there for over 14 years and talks fondly of her work family. Living in Poland since March, Yana has helped her work family find resources for evacuating Ukraine and sends as much aid and money back to Ukraine as she can for her colleagues who are fighting on the front lines. Yana has also taken courses in psychology as an additional enrichment activity at the local House of Pioneers in Zelenodolsk.
Katya is 10 years old and has been attending school in Poland since April. She loves all things girl. She looks forward to when Katie comes to visit because they get to go shopping together. Katya's dad is fighting for Ukraine in the eastern regions. He calls her daily and is greatly missed in her daily life.
Once the war in Ukraine broke out, Yana's hometown turned into a target for Russian shelling and heavy bombardment. Today, Yana’s native Zelenodolsk lies about 10 miles east of the front line. A loving mother, Yana has a 10-year-old daughter Katya; she and Yana had no choice but to leave for Warsaw,
Yana and Katya were one of the first refugees that Katie and BEHUMANKINDNESS met on March 22, 2022, at the Central Train Station. They are very special as they inpspired the framework for BEHUMANKINDNESS of empowering women to make long term decision for a better stable life for their childnren.
Yana is a refugee.
Meet Yehor. Yehor was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, He came to Warsaw 2 years ago to study at Leon Kozminski Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management in Warsaw, He is in Poland working towards a Bachelor in Management, with an emphasis in Finance and Economics. Previously, Yehor was an exchange student at University of Victoria, Canada. He took courses in International Finance, Strategic Management, International Marketing, Cross-cultural Management, and Social Entrepreneurship. Yehor is a polymath; he teaches English and English literature, works as a translator, speaks 5 languages—Ukrainian, Russian,English, Spanish, and Polish—and is learning Portuguese and Cantonese. Egor is a human and animal rights activist.
Now, at the age of 20, he is working for BeHumanKindness as the Operations Manager for our BHK Home away from Home in Warsaw, Poland. Yehor is our BHK jack-of-many-trades; IKEA assembly, shopping, technical support and handy man.
Yehor enjoys helping our Ukrainian families get used to their new country and lifestyle, occasionally interpreting for them. He is also starting English classes for the children in our Home.
Yehor's mother and sister are refugees and will move into our home at the end of the summer.
Yehor is a refugee.