WYTHEVILLE, Va. – In a show of love and support from half a world away, local students are supporting their teacher whose family is divided by the war in Ukraine.
Yana Blevins is an assistant teacher at Minnick Wytheville Adapted School. She grew up in Russia but planted roots in Marion after meeting her husband in Virginia. She traveled to the U.S. as a college student when she met her husband.
Blevins’s extended family remains in Russia and Ukraine. As the violence continues there, so do her desperate prayers.
“I just can’t even comprehend what they are going through. I just can’t,” Blevins said.
She said the majority of Russians don’t support the war because they have family ties to Ukraine.
“Russians and Ukrainians have always been friends. We’re like a big family,” Blevins said. “Traveling back and forth there is just like traveling to another state in the U.S.”
Yana facetimes with her family every day.
To show their support, her students created cards for Blevins and her family. She said it’s a small act of kindness that’s kept their spirits lifted.
“I’m telling you, it was great. It was great to get all those cards and read them. I shared them with my family. They were surprised at the overwhelming support they’ve been receiving. We’ve been so blessed with it,” Blevins said.
Blevins said her family is safe, and they are thankful for the support they’ve received from Southwest Virginia and around the world. Blevins asked for continued prayers for the people of Ukraine.