Former teacher from OC uses coloring books, crayons to help brighten lives of Ukrainian children

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (KABC) -- A former teacher from Laguna Woods wanted to do something to help out the people of Ukraine. So he went on a mission to Poland, armed with crayons and coloring books.

It was a small gesture, but made a huge impact.

Back in March, Mike Wilson and his wife felt depressed watching the news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He wanted to do something.

"In the morning I just woke up. I looked at my wife and said 'I'm going.' And her famous thing was, 'Where are you going?' I said 'I'm going to Ukraine,'" said Wilson.

The 71-year-old hopped on a flight to Krakow, Poland.

"A light went off, I said I founded what I can do to help. So I went to the store. I found out where the crayons and coloring books were. They said how many would you like? I said, give me everything you have," said Wilson.

He began handing out hundreds of coloring books at train stations and at bus stops, where refugees anxiously wait to learn their next destination. Pictures show children smiling as they pose with their brand new books.

The gifts brought tears to the eyes of mothers and fathers who had to abandon their homes quickly, and leave everything behind. So far he's made two trips.

"I still believe America is the greatest country in the history of the world, and it made me so grateful that I was able to do something from my heart to their heart," said Wilson.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.