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Ukrainian exchange student hopes to attend college in US through fundraising

Members of the Toledo School for the Arts hope to raise $15,000 for Dan Lazaryev to continue his goal of higher education in the U.S.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A Ukrainian exchange student is hoping to continue his education in the U.S., due to the continuing conflict in his home country, by raising $15,000 to attend college.

Danylo "Dan" Lazaryev is a 17-year-old musician at the Toledo School for the Arts. He came to the U.S. just over a year ago in a program meant to educate his culture with others.

"Some things turned out just the way I expected them to be and some things turned out to be not (the way I expected them). But that's kind of the charm of it all because you didn't know what to expect," he said.

While Ukraine is his homeland, Dan said the atmosphere at TSA has created another home for him.

"You feel as accepted for who you are and that's probably the main reason why I like this school so much," he said.

Nicole Witt is the school's nurse who said Dan is always willing to go out of his way for anyone that needs him. She wanted to help Dan, so, along with his host family, she created a GoFundMe to support his higher education goals.

"The costs are significantly different and I wanted to make sure he could do that," Witt said.

Dan has also been involved with Toledo Helps Ukraine, which was founded by University of Toledo law student and Ukrainian Alona Matchenko last February. The group's goal is to raise awareness for and fund supplies to be sent to Ukrainians in the U.S. or overseas.

"He would always come not afraid to speak, not afraid to show his talent, and it would always lighten up the room when Dan would enter," Matchenko said.

Dan said he has many options, but would like to pursue political science in college. Matchenko said the area has been an inclusive environment to do so and is filled with support and encouragement.

Dan said he could not be more thankful for the continued support.

"You might think that you are doing something small, that it's just a drop in the ocean. But that drop means so much to me," he said.

For more information on how to assist Ukrainian students in the greater area, Matchenko said to visit 4UA.

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