The war between Russia and Ukraine has brought more than 11,000 refugees from Ukraine to Florida. Four of them graduated from JP’s LifeWorks training course in May, along with 58 other people wanting a better job and a better life. Their participation in LifeWorks grew out of JP volunteer Salley Martin’s heart for people in need.
“My Bible study class of about 10 ladies said they wanted to help Ukrainians,” says Salley, a member of First United Methodist Church of Winter Park and LifeWorks coach. “I visited the Ukrainian Catholic church and asked the priest, ‘What can our Sunday school class do?’”
Father Roman Kuzminskyi of St. Mary Protectress Ukrainian Catholic Church in Apopka asked the women to make hygiene kits to send to Ukraine, where basic personal-care items are scarce. When Salley delivered the 36 kits to St. Mary’s, she met many congregants, including two women who said, “We need jobs.”
“They didn’t know I volunteered with JP!” Salley says, amazed at how God works.
Salley connected St. Mary’s with JP manager of church partnerships Tony Pitts. Tony visited the church and told congregants about JP and LifeWorks. Four refugees enrolled, and they graduated from LifeWorks in May.
Salley says her JP volunteer training equipped her to make a difference for people displaced by war. “What a blessing that I had the coaching skills from JP to help people in different situations,” she says.