Stand with Ukraine Flip-Flops
My name is Sam Volokh (Самуїл Євгeнoвич Волох), and I am a Ukrainian-American. (That's me on the right, and my brother, Ben, on the left.)
My father and grandparents moved to L.A. from Kyiv, Ukraine; my grandmother Anya was born in Kyiv, just a few months before the Nazi invasion in 1941. Thankfully, she was evacuated to Siberia, where she survived the war.
Now that there’s another invasion, I’ve looked for ways to do something to help, and came up with the idea of Stand With Ukraine Flip-Flops:
- In the flip-flops, you can literally Stand With Ukraine.
- They come either in blue or yellow (the Ukrainian national colors) or—best of all—one blue and one yellow, and have Stand With Ukraine written on them in English and in Ukrainian. The Ukrainian phrase, “Разом з Україною,” literally means “together with Ukraine,” but that’s the standard way that “stand with Ukraine” is expressed in Ukrainian; “stand with Ukraine” just isn’t something you’d say in that language.
- Think of what a conversation starter they would be! There you are, wearing your blue and yellow flip-flops, and someone asks you, “Why are you wearing two different colors of flip-flops?” You say, “That’s because I’m standing with Ukraine!” Or if you’re not in the mood, you can tell people that you’re standing with UCLA or the University of Michigan or the L.A. Rams. (As it happens, my father went to UCLA and my mother went to Michigan, though that’s just a coincidence.)
Because I love animals, and volunteer as an Avian Specialist Docent at the L.A. Zoo, I’ve decided to donate all profits from the flip-flops to support Ukrainian zoos, through the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and its Emergency Appeal for Ukrainian Zoos, in which the L.A. Zoo is participating. I can’t sit idly by while Ukrainian zoos are devastated by the war. According to EAZA,
Funds raised will be used to assist Ukrainian zoos to continue to provide food and care to animals in conditions of relative welfare and safety, as well as providing support for care staff and management at the zoos. We have direct contact with Mykolayiv Zoo, Kharkiv Zoo and Kyiv Zoo, and indirect contact with other zoos via the Ukrainian Zoo Association and the contacts of our Members. Funds will be allocated on the basis of need according to the requests we receive from zoos, and will be distributed to recipients through channels subject to reasonable due diligence. A full report on the fund and its use of donations to support Ukrainian zoos will be issued in due course.
So far, EAZA has donated money to, among others, the zoos in Kyiv and Kharkiv, two Ukrainian cities that have been under Russian attack. EAZA appears to be entirely legit, and seems to operate in a highly transparent way.
If you’re curious about me, I’m seventeen and currently go to high school in Studio City. My mother is a lawyer, and my father teaches at UCLA.