Weston family brightens Ukrainian orphan's life - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Weston family brightens Ukrainian orphan's life

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WESTON (WAOW) -

A group of orphans from Eastern Europe is visiting central Wisconsin.

We first told you about this Christmas exchange program a few weeks ago. The children arrived in mid-December to receive an experience they wouldn't get at home.

One of those children is Anya, a 15-year-old from Ukraine. She traveled thousands of miles to central Wisconsin for four weeks to enjoy life with a family.

Josh and Susan Dack of Weston are hosting Anya as part of a Christmas exchange program. It's run through a group called New Horizons for Children.

"Basically it's to give them an opportunity to experience America, experience a family," said Susan Dack.

Anya says she loves it. Newsline 9's Daniel Woodruff spoke with her in Ukrainian, a language he learned while living in that country for several years as a church missionary.

"I really like it here," Anya said. "In Ukraine, it's not like this. Outside that country, it's beautiful. I'd like to travel again."

"She's a beautiful girl," said Susan Dack. "We are having so much fun."

That included some Christmas parties.

"We went to Susan's mom's," Anya said. "We opened presents. Also at Josh's mom's."

Anya says she got an MP3 player, a Barbie, and other memorable gifts.

Since Anya doesn't speak much English, that means a language barrier is pretty much unavoidable. So the Dack's say they've resorted to games like charades and Google translate to help with that.

"We'll be standing in the store just like, translating," said Susan Dack. "But it's hard because sometimes even the words don't translate properly."

But they're getting by, and trying to teach each other some words.

But it's not all just fun and games. As part of the program, the Dack's are taking Anya to the dentist and eye doctor, services she may not get in the orphanage.

It's obvious this experience is having a big impact on Anya. When Newsline 9 asked how she likes her host parents, she smiled and blushed. She says the Dack's are good people.

They feel the same about her.

"She is a gem," said Susan Dack.

They look forward to the rest of their time together, brightening the life of a girl they've come to love.

Anya will return to Ukraine January 15 along with other orphaned children who are staying with families in the area.

For more information on the exchange program, visit http://www.newhorizonsforchildren.org/.

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