Unforgettable Black Sea beach cleanup in Ukraine

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CHI’s Jessica Pennewell recently visited Ukraine to meet with prospective Work and Travel participants.  While there, Jessica and Ruslan, from our partner organization Youth Exchanges Center Dba BULATGROUP, arranged the next of our 40 Acts of Kindness Around the World: a Black Sea beach cleanup.  Jessica shares her unforgettable experience.

Beach Cleanup

Written by Jessica Pennewell, Work and Travel

Wherever there are human beings
there is an opportunity for kindness

The owner, Ruslan, of Youth Exchanges Center Dba BULATGROUP and I, hosted a beach clean up on the Black Sea. Several future Work and Travel students joined us to participate in this kind act as well as the staff from Youth Exchange, Olena and Ivanna. I was surprised at the students’ eagerness to join in on the effort. Including Rulans adorable son Klym, and his bright daughter Mylana.

Ukraine Beach Cleanup

The event was entirely in English, to show off their already amazing English skills; however, practice makes perfect. We met in the afternoon fully stocked with bananas, trash bags and gloves. I brought a radio along to boost the vibe and make the act as fun as possible. We shared laughs, they actually liked the music I was playing and we found some interesting items on our beach cleanup journey.

Ruslans son, Klym, melted my heart. He knew very little English but connected with me right away. He was so excited to be a part of this cause and be around the students. He would yell “Jessicaaaaaaaa” with a Russian accent when he found a piece of trash to put in the garbage bag. He insisted on only using my bag to put the trash in and I couldn’t have been happier about it. We all shared pure satisfaction in hearing his innocent voice and laughs. 

Additionally, we all felt a sense of benevolence and magnanimity that afternoon. It shall be a memory we cherish forever. I truly believe kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind. I was honored to be a part of this and have Ruslans gracious efforts to thank.  

Unforgettable Black Sea beach cleanup in Ukraine 3

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