Our Mission

Ukraine Teaching Mission strives to serve hundreds of Ukrainian Catholic University students through an intensive, English immersion program called English Summer School (ESS). In spending a month of the summer dedicated to English instruction, our team of 12 teaching volunteers will go beyond language barriers or simply cultural exchange to improve language levels and English understanding. Volunteers will live in community with students, which is conducive to both learning and prayer. All will partake in daily Ukrainian Catholic Liturgy, praise and worship, and gain invaluable experiences in the world of education and relational ministry with other young adults.

 
 

Our Team 

 
Salvador Brambila - Mission Leader

Salvador Brambila - Mission Leader

Cassie Hoene - Mission Leader   Hello! My name is Cassie Hoene and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to co-lead Ukraine Teaching Mission 2019. This past summer, I taught at ESS and fell in love. I fell in love with the country, with my students, with the university, and I rediscovered my love for teaching. I had 6 students, five of whom were seminarians, and by the end of ESS I considered them all my friends as well. My experience teaching at ESS changed my life, and I can not wait to go back.  I am currently a senior education and English major at Franciscan University. My goal is to teach high school English, but after teaching at ESS, I have grown to love teaching ESL as well. Over the past couple of years, mission work has been an extremely important part of my life and it has helped form me into the person I am today. I love serving the Lord and serving His children, whether that is through a foreign mission or volunteering at a local after-school program.  Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Cassie Hoene - Mission Leader

Hello! My name is Cassie Hoene and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to co-lead Ukraine Teaching Mission 2019. This past summer, I taught at ESS and fell in love. I fell in love with the country, with my students, with the university, and I rediscovered my love for teaching. I had 6 students, five of whom were seminarians, and by the end of ESS I considered them all my friends as well. My experience teaching at ESS changed my life, and I can not wait to go back.
I am currently a senior education and English major at Franciscan University. My goal is to teach high school English, but after teaching at ESS, I have grown to love teaching ESL as well. Over the past couple of years, mission work has been an extremely important part of my life and it has helped form me into the person I am today. I love serving the Lord and serving His children, whether that is through a foreign mission or volunteering at a local after-school program.

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Zoe Uhrich - Team Member   Hi! I’m Zoe Uhrich and I’m a junior theatre major and Narrative Arts minor at Franciscan University! I come from Buffalo, New York, where winter lasts for 6 months a year. I’m extremely artistic, and I also have a great love for Russian literature, beautiful flowers, and Italian food. This is my first mission trip, so I’m curious as to what this trip will bring, and I’m excited to finally share my faith and passions in such a dynamic way! The Ukraine mission popped up so unexpectedly in my life, but it’s a perfect fit for me – I love teaching and developing connections with students. I hope to help the students in the Ukraine to be excited about what they’re learning and to grow in self-confidence. I also can’t wait to experience the culture and beauty of the Ukraine. I love exploring new places, and Europe holds a special spot in my heart. Keep me in your prayers and thank you so much for your support!

Zoe Uhrich - Team Member

Hi! I’m Zoe Uhrich and I’m a junior theatre major and Narrative Arts minor at Franciscan University! I come from Buffalo, New York, where winter lasts for 6 months a year. I’m extremely artistic, and I also have a great love for Russian literature, beautiful flowers, and Italian food. This is my first mission trip, so I’m curious as to what this trip will bring, and I’m excited to finally share my faith and passions in such a dynamic way! The Ukraine mission popped up so unexpectedly in my life, but it’s a perfect fit for me – I love teaching and developing connections with students. I hope to help the students in the Ukraine to be excited about what they’re learning and to grow in self-confidence. I also can’t wait to experience the culture and beauty of the Ukraine. I love exploring new places, and Europe holds a special spot in my heart. Keep me in your prayers and thank you so much for your support!

Hailee Dobbins - Team Member   Hello, My name is Hailee Dobbins. I am a freshman Education major at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I come from a family of five and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Growing up I was always a huge extrovert and loved getting to know and helping as many people as I could. Serving others has always been something I am passionate about. I have always felt called to go on a mission trip in a different country, but I never knew where. When I heard about the Ukraine mission I began to pray and ask for God's guidance through my discernment process. After lots of prayer I feel this is where God is calling me to serve. The thought of teaching English to ELL and building faith based relationships with my students beyond excites me. This mission will be something that that will help me to grow as a person and as a future educator. The experience and skills I gain in the Ukraine will be things I can use for many years to come in my future classroom.

Hailee Dobbins - Team Member

Hello, My name is Hailee Dobbins. I am a freshman Education major at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I come from a family of five and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Growing up I was always a huge extrovert and loved getting to know and helping as many people as I could. Serving others has always been something I am passionate about. I have always felt called to go on a mission trip in a different country, but I never knew where. When I heard about the Ukraine mission I began to pray and ask for God's guidance through my discernment process. After lots of prayer I feel this is where God is calling me to serve. The thought of teaching English to ELL and building faith based relationships with my students beyond excites me. This mission will be something that that will help me to grow as a person and as a future educator. The experience and skills I gain in the Ukraine will be things I can use for many years to come in my future classroom.

Maria Manzano   Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever! My name is Maria Manzano and I am currently a senior history major at Franciscan University. I grew up as an only child in Scranton, Pennsylvania with the beautiful tradition of the Byzantine Rite. This past year, I studied abroad in Gaming, Austria and fell in love with Europe and the people there. In Austria, I was the cantor for the Byzantine Rite liturgies and spent much of my free time with the Ukrainian missionary priests and their families. I fell in love with their culture and felt God put the desire to go to Ukraine to teach English on my heart. When I returned back to campus, I was so excited to learn that there was a mission trip offered by Ad Gentes to do exactly that! I cannot express in words how ecstatic I am to answer this call and serve the people of Ukraine in this way. Please keep me and my team in your prayers as we embark on this wonderful adventure. Thank you for your support!

Maria Manzano

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever! My name is Maria Manzano and I am currently a senior history major at Franciscan University. I grew up as an only child in Scranton, Pennsylvania with the beautiful tradition of the Byzantine Rite. This past year, I studied abroad in Gaming, Austria and fell in love with Europe and the people there. In Austria, I was the cantor for the Byzantine Rite liturgies and spent much of my free time with the Ukrainian missionary priests and their families. I fell in love with their culture and felt God put the desire to go to Ukraine to teach English on my heart. When I returned back to campus, I was so excited to learn that there was a mission trip offered by Ad Gentes to do exactly that! I cannot express in words how ecstatic I am to answer this call and serve the people of Ukraine in this way. Please keep me and my team in your prayers as we embark on this wonderful adventure. Thank you for your support!

Todd Steger - Team Member   I’m a senior at Franciscan University of Steubenville, planning to enter seminary after I graduate. I’ve been on mission trips before to the Bronx, NY and Budapest, Hungary as I try to bring the joy of Christ to people left in darkness, even those among us today in the modern world. I’m going to Lviv, Ukraine to bring this same light to those forgotten in the wake of the Russian totalitarian regime. I’ll be teaching English to university students and seminarians there, using my experience with language from majoring in German.

Todd Steger - Team Member

I’m a senior at Franciscan University of Steubenville, planning to enter seminary after I graduate. I’ve been on mission trips before to the Bronx, NY and Budapest, Hungary as I try to bring the joy of Christ to people left in darkness, even those among us today in the modern world. I’m going to Lviv, Ukraine to bring this same light to those forgotten in the wake of the Russian totalitarian regime. I’ll be teaching English to university students and seminarians there, using my experience with language from majoring in German.

Marissa Eckelkamp - Team Member   My name is Marissa Eckelkamp. I am a senior Theology major and I hope to continue my education at Ave Maria School of Law. I never would've thought about a mission trip to Eastern Europe but I became interested in Ukraine after hearing about the nation's history under the oppression of communism and the stories of how the Ukrainian people fought for the Catholic faith. I am excited to have the possibility of combining my love of Theology and Political Science in teaching an International Politics class! Iv'e never been on a mission trip before but I'm excited to see what is in store!

Marissa Eckelkamp - Team Member

My name is Marissa Eckelkamp. I am a senior Theology major and I hope to continue my education at Ave Maria School of Law. I never would've thought about a mission trip to Eastern Europe but I became interested in Ukraine after hearing about the nation's history under the oppression of communism and the stories of how the Ukrainian people fought for the Catholic faith. I am excited to have the possibility of combining my love of Theology and Political Science in teaching an International Politics class! Iv'e never been on a mission trip before but I'm excited to see what is in store!