Pretty amazing, those ideas that hop in, when you’re an Uber driver.
That’s what Pamela Hines, the founder of Gold and Blue United, has been doing of late.
She picked up the side gig to bring in extra money for Gold and Blue United, the nonprofit, humanitarian outreach she and her husband Rudie founded for the Ukrainian cause shortly after the invasion last February.
Over the past months, Gold and Blue United has staged toy drives for refugee children for Christmas.
The organization has helped host rallies of support that have comforted members of WVU’s Ukrainian community who still have family back home dodging Putin-produced bombs and bullets.
More importantly, it has helped find lodging in West Virginia for a handful of families and people displaced by war.
Now it wants the collective high school Class of 2020 to put on corsages for the cause.
Next month, Gold and Blue United is throwing a prom for those students who never got to have theirs due to the pandemic.
The event will be at 7 p.m. May 6 in the Mon County Community Center at Mylan Park. There will be music, hors d’oeuvres and drinks, for those of legal age.
Uber and Lyft transportation will also be available. Visit www.goldandblueunited.com for particulars on ticket prices and more.
Hines in her Uber role transports WVU students who were high school students in 2020 that were robbed of that social rite.
“I’ll talk to these kids a lot about their time then,” Hines said.
And, she started thinking.
“I asked if they would consider going to a prom for them, if somebody actually put one on, and they said yes,” Hines remembered.
Then she asked if they would go, that all the proceeds would be earmarked for the people of Ukraine and her organization’s ongoing work to sponsor families fleeing the war.
“And they really said yes.”
Hines is now in daily contact with a woman named Olga, a single mother with a daughter, who is still in Ukraine, working for a passage out.
She gives Hines lessons in her native language and Hines gives her contact — and hope.
The American on a mission, in turn, has made Ukraine a teachable moment for her own young children.
Later this spring, Hines and her kids will plant rows of sunflowers — Ukraine’s national flower — in the yard of their Morgantown area home, as a way to extend those roots of tolerance and empathy even more.
“It’s about people and connections,” she said.
“And an amazing prom for the Class of 2020, hopefully.”