YCP nursing class turns into hands-on lesson in providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine

The Spartan
The Spartan
Published in
4 min readMar 21, 2022
Faculty and students from the The State University of Applied Sciences in Włocławek, Poland, gather around Dr. Beata Haor after the first delivery arrived March 18 from York College. These supplies will be sent to a refugee shelter about 30 minutes from the Ukraine border. (Photo submitted by Dr. Klaudia Cwiekala-Lewis)

By Autumn Miller

York College of Pennsylvania is partnering with the State Vocational University in Włocławek, Poland, to provide necessary supplies to help Ukraine refugees at the border of Poland during this time of need.

Since the Russian invasion, more than 2.5 million individuals have fled the nation, the bulk of whom have been taken by Poland, creating Europe’s fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II, according to UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Commissioner, Filippo Grandi.

Poland, which shares a border on Ukraine’s northwest quadrant, has become a first destination for individuals seeking refuge in other nations. The sheer number of refugees leaving has prompted individuals in neighboring countries to help where they can.

In a course that York College professor Dr. Klaudia Cwiekala-Lewis of the Stabler Department of Nursing is teaching, students are learning about community/public health, and one of the core functions of community/public health nursing is to mobilize community partnership and action to identify and solve health problems.

She calls the situation unfolding in Poland a “humanitarian crisis” that provided the perfect setting to put lessons to work and send over aid.

Says Cwiekala-Lewis: “Our students accurately identified that there may be a need for Ukraine refugees for some much-needed items. So we reached out to nursing students and faculty in Poland and asked for a list. Then students brainstormed potential ways of getting the item there and the idea of creating an Amazon registry was proposed. Later, the team came up with another solution based on feedback from both our Polish and U.S. communities.”

They delivered their first shipment to the shelter on March 18. You can view a video of the effort at this link.

Here’s what was received:
50 wool blankets
40 sleeping bags
30 sleeping mats
100 emergency blankets
30 toothbrushes and toothpaste
30 diaper boxes
32 baby wipe packs
12 sanitary pads
12 Sleeping bag wearable blankets
50 first aid kits
30 bottles of hydrogen peroxide
4 first medical responder kits and along with multiple hand sanitizers, raincoats, bandages, flashlights, solar lights and batteries.

The York College students involved in this humanitarian project. (Photo from the YCP Instagram)

Cwiekala-Lewis says that the second core function of community/public health nursing that students addressed during this inpatient was: Infoform, educate and empower people about health issues.

“Our students are working now on creating educational materials with help of our psychiatric faculty professors [Kurt] Moran and [Elizabeth] Adwa,” she says. “ Education will include a short video and an infographic about psychological first aid and then we will translate this material into Polish and Ukrainian. This will be then used to educate Polish lay people on how they can help those that they host in their homes.”

The State University of Applied Sciences in Włocławek, Poland, which was founded by Cwiekala-Lewis, has a cooperation with York College. York College and others have been requested to assist by purchasing relief supplies from the Polish Amazon (to avoid excessive shipping costs and other logistical barriers) on behalf of the partner university. These supplies will be sent straight to the institution, where they will be distributed to Ukrainian refugees.

Nursing will be establishing a location in Diehl Hall where people can drop off
donations. The items that are being focused on at this point are diapers of all sizes, baby wipes, baby soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, underwear and socks (boys and girls as well as women, all sizes), coloring books, and crayons.

There are several ways you can help out:

  1. Venmo
    Here’s the link to Dr. Lewis Venmo profile, she is the one that will be collecting the money
  2. GoFundMe
  3. Checks
    Mail checks out to:
    Dr. Klaudia Lewis
    York College of Pennsylvania
    441 Country Club Rd, York, PA 17403
  4. US Amazon Registry
    You may place an order there and have it delivered directly to Poland. Please do not buy more than $150, since Poland will be required to pay tax.
    Please choose the shipping address to:
    Beata Haor at Instytut Nauk o Zdowiu, Obroncow Wisly 1920r., Wloclawek, 87–800, Poland

If you have any questions, contact Nora Osowsk at nosowski@ycp.edu or Contact Dr. Lewis at klewis18@ycp.edu for instructions on how to donate.

Autumn Miller is a senior majoring in Mass Communication.

READ MORE: Many students following their first war in real time, thanks to social media

READ MORE: ‘It’s about the bigger picture’: Polish-born York College nurse helps Ukrainian refugees, published in The York Dispatch