Montgomery ISD family raises money for Ukrainian exchange student

Her host family is raising money. Their first priority is to help get Anya’s family to safety.

HOUSTON, Texas — A Montgomery ISD family is doing what they can to support their Ukrainian foreign exchange student.

Her family is back home in Ukraine while she’s here in school. The host family raising money, hoping to get everyone safely here to join her. 

A week ago, exchange student Anya Arseienko was at Disney World, having the time of her life. 

“We got back from Disney World, and the world’s gone crazy,” Nicole Boniface said. 

Today, she’s terrified and feeling helpless while her family fights to find safety in the midst of war. 

“It feels horrible to be honest. I can’t sleep, it feel so horrible,” Anya said. 

Anya is spending her junior year at Lake Creek High School while her family is back home in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, the very city Russian troops are now trying to invade. 

“They didn’t know what to do because everywhere was explosions, everything was explosions,” Anya said. 

At last check, Anya’s family was at a village about 15 miles outside the border to Poland trying to get out. They say the only way to get to Poland is on foot.

But with her grandmother and 98-year-old great-grandmother, walking 15 miles in freezing weather is impossible. And under martial law, her father can’t leave the country. 

“Her mom and younger sister want to want to cross over to Poland, but they don’t want to leave the grandma and great-grandma behind. That’s very new that we have today, that’s the latest that we have from them,” Nicole Boniface said. 

So her host family is raising money. Their first priority is to help get Anya’s family to safety.

“If they can get to Poland, then we can set up plane tickets. We’ve had generous offers of airline miles in addition to funds,” Brian Boniface said. 

And they’ll try to bring them to Texas. 

“Oh my gosh, I would be, I would, I don’t know. I just don’t have any words because I would be like extremely happy,” Anya said. 

The Boniface family initially set that fundraising goal at $10,000, but they already surpassed that in just 24 hours. They’re planning to raise the goal even higher. You can donate to the fundraiser through the family’s GiveSendGo page.

Next Post

Some past Science News coverage was racist and sexist. We're deeply sorry

Thu Mar 24 , 2022
Content warning: This essay about aspects of Science News’ coverage cites specific examples of racism, sexism and prejudice against members of the LGBTQ community and others. We have chosen to link to the examples to be transparent about our failings. In late 2019, with the 100th birthday of Science News […]