We all watch the events unfolding in Ukraine with a profound sense of shock and sadness. Our hearts are with the people of Ukraine as they defend their borders and seek shelter for their families.

The destruction taking place is heartbreaking, particularly because we know that behind every image of bombed-out buildings are human victims. They are families who have been displaced, injured, or who have lost their lives. As an agency that exists to support the wellbeing of young people, we mourn for the trauma being inflicted on all innocent victims, especially children and youth.

War exacts a terrible toll on everyone. In addition to the suffering of the people in Ukraine, there are many brave people in Russia and neighbouring areas protesting against the war and risking severe consequences for doing so. Sadly, innocent civilians in these areas are likely to bear the brunt of the imposed sanctions.

The impact of this attack reverberates throughout the world, including here in Niagara. Young people in Niagara may also be feeling stress and concern for friends, family, and loved ones. If anyone is concerned for the mental wellbeing of their child during this conflict, you are not alone. Please reach out for support if you need it. There are many resources in our community, including our Family Counselling Centre, which can be reached by calling 905-937-7731.

We join the world in condemning this unprovoked act of aggression and calling for an immediate end to the war. Especially to those of us privileged enough to live in this great country, the right of self-determination is considered sacred. The people of Ukraine deserve to forge their future in peace and security.