Our approach sets us apart from many other organizations. We travel straight to the sites of atrocities in Ukraine and implement many of our projects directly on locations of massacres.
The “last mile” is a technical term used to describe the last link to a destination. It often is the most difficult step to achieve. We focus our attention on the “last mile” work.
Our approach to the “last mile” is holistic and includes the following steps:
At first, we organize large commemoration events, drawing public attention to local sites where massacres occurred. We invite town officials, local and state media, public and school officials and teachers and students to these events. Some events are reoccurring, such as ones in in Kharkiv and Lubny. Other events are one-time only, such as those we staged in Piryatin, Kremenchuk, Fastov, Vinnitsa, and Bila Tserkva.
Next we plant metasequoia trees directly at the locations of killings to create an ever-living memorial.
We may plant as little as one and as many as dozen metasequoias, depending on accessibility to the killing size.
School students and town officials often take part in planting these trees.
We then create a museum or permanent exhibition at a nearby school. It can be a full-size museum, where the whole room is dedicated to local Holocaust events. We have such museums in Lubny or Kremenchuk. Or the museum may be an exhibition featuring several posters. We have these types of exhibits in Kharkiv or Fastov. Whenever possible, we train local high-school students to act as tour-guides.
In addition, we work with volunteers from local community, town and school officials to organize re-occurring educational school trips to visit the newly created museums and the killing site. We support ongoing trips in Lubny, Kharkiv and Kremenchuk.
Last, we bring all newly discovered information from our projects in Ukraine back to the U.S., translate and digitize it and use it for various educational events.
We manage all activities as individual projects organized under our Educate Generations (EDGE) Program or Maintain, Aid, Restore, and Support (MARS) Program. We are hands-on with all of the projects. We do not outsource our work to other charities or businesses. Volunteers add substantial value by helping with project execution. Our hands-on approach means projects are cost-efficient to maximize donor contributions.