Sponsor a child

Minneapolis woman’s connection to Ukrainian student leads her to sponsor his family

MINNEAPOLIS – A Ukrainian refugee family is on their way to Minneapolis thanks to a woman here who has formed a special bond with the family’s son.

Mykola Sapronov has been living temporarily with Margie Commerford since graduating from the University of Minnesota this spring. He says he felt like he was living two lives in his last semester: one as a student, the other as someone constantly following the evolution of the war in his home country. , Ukraine.

“It’s very difficult because I felt like I had no control,” Sapronov said. “You feel really helpless and you can’t really do much.”

Commerford saw on Facebook that Sapronov needed accommodation.

“I just jumped on it,” Commerford said. “It was like a gift and before I knew it we were in touch and I was kind of giving him everything I had.”

Commerford, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, felt an immediate affinity for Sapronov.

“He’s so adorable,” Commerford said. “I love her now.”

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Mykola Sapronov and Margie Commerford

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Their connection led to something bigger. Commerford is now sponsoring Sapronov’s family to come to America. His mother, father and 2-year-old brother are in Latvia after fleeing Ukraine.

“I’m glad to know they’ll be safe,” Sapronov said. “But I also feel in some way responsible for making this transition go as smoothly as possible.”

The Sapronovs will move into a two-bedroom apartment that is part of university housing. Sapronov continued his studies at the U with graduate studies. The family should arrive in about three weeks, and there’s a lot to do until then.

“You need every fork, spoon, leaf, you need everything,” Commerford said.

A social media post asking for donations to help furnish the apartment received an overwhelming response.

“When you make a personal connection, everything changes,” Commerford said. “You start to really care about it, it’s not just a cause. You start to care about it and it brings out something very beautiful in us.”

One of the family’s immediate needs is a car, which Commerford says they are looking to purchase as soon as possible. Sapronov says he hopes when they get here, his family can end up in Minnesota like him.

Commerford sponsors the Sapronovs under the federal government’s Unite for Ukraine program. Click here for more information on helping bring Ukrainian refugees to the United States

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