Tulsa Boys’ Home hold art festival fundraiser for orphans in war-torn Ukraine

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. — Jim King is the founder of the Tulsa non-profit, Awaking Hope.

“I founded the organization back in 1984,” said Jim.

Awaking Hope has been working on numerous humanitarian projects with hospitals and orphanages in Russia and Ukraine since the mid-80s.

Around 2004, the Department of Education [in Ukraine] approached us and asked if we would consider starting an orphanage in the city of Kahovka, Ukraine.

“They said they had no money, but they had this big building, that we could take and renovate if we’d be willing to do that,” said King.

House of Joy was born and has been working with children in need for about 18 years.

In April 2022, House of Joy was housing about 47 children when the war began to break out in the country. There have been so many changes to their daily life.

“In the town of Kahovka right now the Ukrainians love sausage. This is just an example. Before the war started, they buy it by the kilo, 2.2 pounds. That’s about four bucks for 2.2 pounds. Now it’s sixteen bucks. The Ukrainian officials told us to turn the basement into a bomb shelter. Because back then there was some activity around that area. In about six weeks or so ago they started flying Soviet Union flags, not Russian flags, but Soviet Union flags,” said King.

Meanwhile, on the other side world in Sand Springs, Oklahoma the Tulsa Boys Home [TBH] held an annual art festival. The TBH is a residential treatment program for boys, that opened in 1918. Staff at TBH work with boys who could be struggling with issues such as substance or physical abuse, poverty, or neglect and who need a safe place to live and be cared for.

Brooke Jackson is the Ambassador Coordinator for TBH. She says the art festival showcases what creative projects the boys have produced during the summer break.

“We are also doing something different this year, that we’ve never done before,” said Jackson. “We’re giving back to an orphanage in Ukraine. It’s called House of Joy. It was an idea the boys gave us and we ran with it. We’re helping other orphans on the other side of the world.”

King says that the funds donated to the House of Joy will go to the efforts of keeping the children still in Ukraine safe in a country currently torn apart by gunfire and explosions. He says he has heard that many Ukrainian orphans have been taken into Russia.

“Our mission is to keep them provided for and loved,” said King. “There is still an invasion of the level of like like a World War Two type thing, and they’re bombing cities. Currently today Mykolaiv and Kharkiv, are not occupied by the Russian army, but they’re just bombing the daylights out of it. So the war is not over in Ukraine. There’s about 6 million displaced people.”