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Tulsa woman volunteers in Poland, helping fleeing Ukrainians

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 18:26:31-04

TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa woman is sharing her experience after spending almost two weeks, volunteering to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Pam Ballard spent almost two weeks near Warsaw, Poland last month, helping Ukrainians who have escaped their war-torn country.

"You see the footage of how the moms and their children fled their homes, the crowded buses, every bit of that was true," Ballard says.

Ballard was one of several volunteers working at a Manor House in Poland. They worked alongside the Polish people as they provided refugees with basic supplies, food, and support.

"In the afternoon, they would come to the Manor House. We would divide the moms up from their children. We would do respite care with the moms we would do art therapy with them. We would do other recreational activities with them. Give them time to talk about what they were experiencing and feeling. While we had other people working with the children outside. Then around 6 o'clock, we would come together for a family dinner."

This was her first volunteer trip overseas. She says when she saw what was happening in Ukraine, she knew she needed to help.

"So much of the destruction from world war two is still very visible. And so I've always thought if anything in my lifetime were to happen like that, I would hope I would do something. Regardless of how small, I would do something."

Ballard says she chose to volunteer because no person or country is safe from tragedy.

"If my daughter and my children did have to flee, would I want someone there who would give them at least a little time to themselves and play with the children and give them a meal in the evening? As little as it seems, what would that mean to me to know that someone was taking a little time."

Ballard also says some of the people she met, have become like family to her, and she feels as if her work in Poland isn't finished. She is going back to Poland to volunteer at the Manor House in July.

Ballard is the CEO of Tulsa’s Community Service Council she planned and paid for the trip on her own.

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