How honoring our son Kolya turned into saving Ukranian lives …
We started the Nykolai Cunningham Foundation in 2017 to honor the life of our sweet, funny, smart and charismatic son after he was lost in a tragic accident just shy of his 15th birthday. The foundation began with funds going to assist families hosting children from Ukraine, in hopes that these orphaned children might possibly be adopted and have a better life.
This is how our Nykolai (Kolya) came to be our son in 2013. During our adoption process, we traveled extensively throughout Ukraine and met many orphans and people along the way. We made connections and lasting friendships with those that facilitated our adoption, both officially and unofficially. Our connection to Ukraine is strong and like most of us, we are horrified by what is happening. Our hearts are forever tied to the beautiful people we met and the beautiful country we traveled to adopt our son. Ukraine is and always will be a part of us.
Currently in Ukraine there are many displaced orphans and young adults who have aged out of the orphanages. Most of these young adults were already living a life of poverty and are now without work, living in bomb shelters and struggling to find food.
Using the contacts we have through our adoption process as well as through people we know personally, we are doing what we can to help, including:
* Getting orphans to a safe location and continuing to support their needs.
* Getting young adults with no family to the US to live with families that will sponsor them.
* Sponsoring aged-out young adults still in Ukraine (young men cannot leave).
* Supporting Ukrainian adoption contacts who are working tirelessly to help these children and young adults.
The foundation has raised more than $29,000 to date to support these efforts. The goal is to reach $50,000 by the end of the summer, Nykolai’s favorite season on LBI.
How can you help? Our foundation sends funds directly to the people we know who are supporting children and orphans on the ground. From transportation to food and shelter, your contribution will support a child in need in a big way. Checks and Zelle donations can be sent directly via the 'Contact~Donate' menu link on this website. We are also selling Surfers for Ukraine T-Shirts and Slava Ukraine candles in store and online at www.sandybanksboutique.com.