NORTH ATTLEBORO — A local volleyball coach will travel to Europe to help train young basketball players who have fled war-torn Ukraine, as well as bring them supplies.
Natalka Reid, 21, of North Attleboro, will fly to Latvia on Saturday on a trip sponsored by the nonprofit Ukrainian-American Youth Association.
The Rhode Island College sophomore and Bishop Feehan High School graduate is an active member of the Boston-based youth association.
“I really want to help out and make a difference,” Reid said of her reasons for going on the trip.
Known as “Coach Nat”, the volleyball player and coach will live and work with more than two dozen athletes and other coaches in Latvia for almost three weeks.
The U15 women’s basketball team “MOBI”, from Brovary, Ukraine, a suburb of the capital Kyiv, will spend their time training with Reid in speed, agility and strength sessions as well as daily team building activities.
Basketball players fled Ukraine soon after the Russian invasion on February 24.
Reid, a health and physical education major, is proud of her Ukrainian heritage and is named after her Ukrainian grandmother.
She follows in the footsteps of her mother, Terry Reid, who delivered medical and other supplies to Ukrainian refugees in Poland and Ukraine in March and April.
The trip was organized through the Ukrainian-American Youth Association, which works with the League of Tolerance, a nonprofit organization in Ukraine that helps underprivileged children.
Reid, who coaches for ENVY Volleyball Club in Rhode Island, met Ukrainian coaches when they came to Boston a few years ago.
With support from UAYA, local athletic programs, and private donors, Reid will also provide laptops for the upcoming school year, sportswear, underwear, workout gear, basketball shoes- ball and practice shirts.
“Everybody is doing what they can and I’m doing everything I can,” Reid said.
For more information about the Ukrainian-American Youth Association, visit them on Facebook or ukrainiancenter.org.
David Linton can be reached at 508-236-0338.