Graphic of yellow and blue flowers with blue leaves in upper left and lower right corners. Centered text reads: Community Support Sought for Visit from Sister City Residents

Rockford to Host Teens from Our Sister City in Ukraine

More than a dozen teens will travel to Rockford from Brovary, our Ukrainian Sister City, in early August. All are traveling with their mothers, while their fathers continue to serve in the military in an army combat zone in Ukraine. All the students and their mothers were in Brovary during the Russian invasion earlier this year.

The group will spend 11 days in our community visiting local attractions and staying at the dorm at Rockford Christian Schools. Representatives from the City of Rockford, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the YMCA of Rock River Valley are working to finalize daily plans for the group.

The City of Rockford recently asked the mayor’s office in Brovary if there were additional ways Rockford could offer assistance. They replied with the request to host the students as a way of providing a brief reprieve from the chaotic and stressful environment the students and parents have been living in since late February. Rockford is the first U.S. city to create this opportunity for Ukrainian teens.

“Our Rockford residents really came through to support the Brovary Relief Fund,” says Mayor Tom McNamara. “Now I’m hoping our businesses, venues and restaurants will step up and offer to host the group for an activity or a meal throughout their stay.”

Needs include:

•    Transportation between Rockford and O’Hare
•    Transportation to/from activities in the Rockford area
•    Restaurants to provide meals
•    Attractions to host the group for a half or full day
•    Welcome basket donations

Those interested in helping the group, can call 779-500-0804 or email

Monetary donations to support their visit can also be made through two local organizations – Kids Around the World and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. To donate, please visit or to give securely online.

“Our goal is to give these students the opportunity to take a break from the tremendous amount of stress they’ve already faced this year and allow them to have new, fun experiences,” says Mayor McNamara.

The relationship between the City of Rockford Brovary began in 1995 when a soccer team from Kyiv visited Rockford and suggested a sister city arrangement with Brovary, a Kyiv suburb of 85,900. As a gift to Brovary, a Rockford group traveled to build the first of two playgrounds for Brovary’s children. They did not use wood, because of the risk that it might be stripped to heat homes during the harsh winters. These two projects were the beginning of "Kids Around the World", a Rockford organization that builds playgrounds for children in poverty-stricken and war-torn foreign cities. 

To date, the Brovary Relief Fund has raised $213,863 and provided 8.5 pallets of medicine and 270,864 meals to our Sister City.

Learn more about the Brovary, Ukraine Relief Fund effort >>