JU presents check for Ukrainian refugee relief

December 12, 2022

Jacksonville University presented a $17,225 check to the Global Outreach Charter Academy Foundation Monday, which will help fund the school’s efforts in educating Ukrainian refugees at its East Arlington campus. 

Thanks to funds raised from a benefit concert featuring Ukrainian violinist Anastasiya Petryshak at Jacksonville University on Oct. 26, GOCA is able to better assist the nearly 40 Ukrainian refugee students on its Jacksonville campuses. The concert was part of the Stein College’s annual Creative Arts Series.

GOCA CEO Ilya Soroka said at the check presentation ceremony that he hopes for more involvement with Jacksonville University, especially with its GOCA Arts School, which is planned to open next year.

“I have a feeling this will be the start of a longer partnership with Jacksonville University,” Soroka said.

In addition to teaching students at GOCA, the school also helps refugees back on their feet when arriving to the U.S., which can mean providing computers for refugee students who can’t afford them and helping families get on their feet once they arrive in the country. GOCA also emphasizes teaching students foreign languages, providing them with a global perspective and offering a variety of after-school classes. 

The relationship between the two schools began when Dr. Tim Snyder, Dean of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities wanted to find a way for the community to benefit from Petryshak’s performance. Talks of the concert began in 2019, but were put on hold in 2020 because of the pandemic.

As planning for the concert restarted in January 2022, Ukraine was days away from war breaking out with Russia. So rather than the concert raising funds for JU, Snyder wanted to give back to Petryshak’s homeland of Ukraine. He researched opportunities for Ukrainian refugees in Jacksonville, and found GOCA. 

Petryshak has performed across Europe and the U.S. with the likes of Sofia Gubaidulina, Salvatore Accardo, Gianluigi Gelmetti, and Andrea Bocelli, and released her first CD “Amato Bene” in 2018.

The concert was free, but donations were encouraged and totaled over $17,000. Members of the community, GOCA representatives and Jacksonville-area Ukrainians were all in attendance.

“It was so meaningful for Anastasyia to have people from her homeland in the audience at her concert,” Dr. Snyder said. “From there, we were able to connect her with the Cathedral Arts Project, with Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and she hosted a master class at JU for the community. It just turned into a really wonderful cultural exchange.”

To learn more about the Stein College and the Creative Arts Series, click here


Katie Garwood


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