TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Saturday had been months in the making for the Paskal family.
Since Russia invaded the Paskal’s home country of Ukraine, the family of five had taken refuge in Poland, Germany and Italy.
Two months ago, they got in touch with Sarah Scank, a Terre Haute resident, who was looking to sponsor a family through a federal program called Uniting for Ukraine.
“We posted to Facebook to look for a sponsor who can support us. We had found Sarah Scank, who could help us at the moment. So now we’re in the U.S, and we’re really glad to be in here,” Jack Paskal, the oldest son in the family, said.
Jackie Harris, Scank’s daughter, said her family started having discussions about sponsoring a family about two months ago, when the program was announced. From there, things progressed quickly.
“It was a really rapid process to get them into the United States, it was a lot of paperwork but not a long wait,” she said.
The Paskals arrived in Terre Haute the night of June 9th. Harris said the idea for the block party Saturday was to introduce the family to their neighbors and other community members. She said it felt great to see the amount of support they’ve received.
“It’s an incredible feeling. We are happy to have them here but they seem even happier to be here,” Harris said. “They’re incredibly kind and loving people. It just makes it feel worth it to help them/”
She said through the first few weeks, she’s learned a lot from the family, and is excited to learn more.
“I’m looking forward to what they have to show us. They have a lot of different cultural aspects that we don’t get to see in the United States,” she said. “They’ve shown us so much. Even with the meals that they eat. It’s really expanded what we’ve gotten to experience.”
Jack Paskal said he’s looking forward to starting school in the fall and trying out for the soccer team.
“I really like United States citizens, especially Indiana citizens. [They’re] really kind people,” he said.
The program authorizes families to stay in the U.S. for up to two years.