Georgia ministry helps supply bulletproof vests and helmets to volunteers

Ukrainian and humanitarian volunteers provided with bulletproof vests and gear

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - ”Our organization started with work in Ukraine in 1993,” said Rob Browne President and CEO of YouthReach International.

YouthReach International works with and supports at-risk youth, all over the world. When the war started in Ukraine, the teams with YouthReach, continued on with their mission, but in a different way.

”It has been quite strange to find ourselves in the middle of a war. It is not a war that directly involves our country,” said Browne.

There is a team of Ukrainian YouthReach volunteers who are living part-time in a Ukrainian forest for safety. They go to war-torn areas and make sure people have water, food and support. Their team is growing.

”In the coming weeks, we are going to need more of the bulletproof helmets and vests,” said Browne.

Georgians helped the organization outfit these men and more than a dozen others with bulletproof vests and helmets. More protective gear will be needed.

”We only outfit humanitarian workers,” said Browne.

Two weeks into the war, YouthReach helped coordinate an evacuation of kids in an orphanage, they have worked with for years. The building was too close to a war zone. The children have been taken to a neighboring country. They are safe and well fed, but they are having to start new lives; learn to speak a new language, and start a new school.

”The older ones especially...they are starting to see their new reality. It is going to be a long time, if ever, that they get to go home,” said Browne.

While war changes most things, it hasn’t changed a promise YouthReach made to Ukrainian families several years ago.

”We were with you in eastern Ukraine before all of this started. We were with you on your journey out of the country. I am with you where you are,” said Browne.

Sawyer Buccy

Sawyer Buccy

Sawyer Buccy is a Multimedia Journalist for CBS46, Atlanta. She comes to Atlanta from Tulsa, Oklahoma where she told community-focused stories of resilience.