Computer science student connects with Ukrainian youth

September 27, 2019 | Society
I’m a science student – a computer programmer who’s interested in fish. I’m not studying child and youth care or social work. I’ve always wanted to reconnect with my Ukrainian heritage, but what could I possibly have to offer at a summer camp for Ukrainian youth who live in orphanages?

More than I thought, it turns out.

One of the camp counsellors was running computer labs, so I asked if I could help out. I was setting up the computers, when he said, “You should run the lab and I’ll interpret for you.”

So I downloaded some super easy programming apps, and we just started. Some of these kids had never touched a computer before, but they picked it up really fast and a few of them were flying through the code three steps ahead of me. I spent extra time teaching them some of the tricks I’ve picked up along the way. They were so energized and wanted to learn. I can’t describe how good it felt to be connecting with and making an impact on these kids.

And of course they were making an impact on me too. They made me see my university program in a different way – like I did back in first year when everything was exciting and new. They showed me how good it feels to keep pushing forward – to keep trying new things and new experiences.

At the end of the two weeks, the campers were asking if I was coming back next year. I’m not sure what next year will hold, but I can’t tell you how badly I want to be able to say yes.

– Eric, fourth-year Bachelor of Science student


Where in the world … Ukraine

How eight MacEwan students who joined 200 Ukrainian children and youth for an unforgettable summer camp experience.

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