One Scout’s Mission: Helping Ukrainian Refugees

All Scouts are known for their commitment to community service, but one Metro-Atlanta Eagle Scout is taking their commitment to the next level.

Matthew Tikhonovsky, of Troop 955 in Marietta, has made a name for himself as a dedicated champion of immigrants. As a child of Ukrainian refugees, Matthew understands and is passionate about helping immigrants, so he organizes clothing drives to benefit refugees living in Clarkston, GA.

Refugee Thrive

Since created in 2015, his service initiative, Refugee Thrive, has taken off. In the past four years, Matthew has held clothing drives with his Troop and nearly 30 local high schools, collecting over 10,000 clothing items and helping more than 400 refugee families.

For Matthew, his service initiative is entirely personal.

“When my parents first came to America, they had very little belongings. I’ve always been aware that newly-resettled refugees require clothes, one day I decided I needed to do something about it.”

“My Troop played an integral role in my service initiative,” Matthew said, “I’m grateful that Scouting allowed me to be surrounded by other young people who share my passion for community service.”

For Matthew, many of the skills and lessons he gained in Scouting helped him with his service initiative. Scouting taught him how to be a leader, inspire others to take action and get tasks done efficiently. He stated, “I couldn’t have made as large of an impact in my community, had I not been in Scouts.”

Eagle Scout Project

For his Eagle Scout project, Matthew built a garden and path at a local religious center. He wanted to create a space where people can get to know each other and appreciate each other for their unique backgrounds.

Matthew’s service and activism work has been recognized by T-Mobile and the Clinton Global Initiative Social Venture Challenge. “It’s awesome that my work has been recognized,” Matthew said, “but recognition was never my motive or goal. I’ve strived to support immigrants, just like others helped my parents when they came to America.”

Matthew will be attending Harvard in Fall 2020. He intends to study Government and pursue a career in law and public service.

Thank you to Matthew Tikhonovsky for submitting your story.