HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — The ongoing war in Ukraine has left much of the community looking for ways to help. With incoming refugee families, that help is becoming ever more intimate. 

When sixth-grader Gia Trinthitella found out Ukrainian refugee students would be coming to Northwood Elementary in the Hilton School District, she wanted to find a way to make sure they felt welcomed. 

“I made a bunch of flashcards for a new student who doesn’t speak much English,” Trinthitella said.

Gia’s ESL teacher Candice Hudson sought her out for the project, knowing she’s the kind of student to go above and beyond. 

“She took it and ran with it. Her mom sent me a picture at 9:30 at night with Gia still working on the flashcards because she was determined to have them done before the new student arrived. So, that meant the world to me and I’m sure the student as well,” said Hudson.

Not knowing anything about the Ukrainian language, Gia said it took a while to get the hang of making the flashcards but she didn’t let it deter her from completing the task. 

“It’s hard but I’m doing this for a good cause and it’s making the world a better place,” Trinthitella said.

Hudson said watching Gia take an initiative inspired her.

“This gives me hope that the future is going to start with children like Gia, who want to make a difference,” said Hudson.

Gia said she has become good friends with the Ukrainian student and can’t begin to imagine the circumstances that led the student and their family to Hilton. 

“It definitely makes me feel like I’m in a good place and I have a good surrounding area. And we want to welcome her so she knows that she’s safe here,” Trinthitella said.

This isn’t the first time Northwood has been home to refugee students. They currently have students from Honduras and Yemen as well.