Sharing Hope
Changing Lives
Impacting Generations

in Ukraine

“Тож ідіть і навчіть всі народи...” Матвій 28:19{Ukrainian}

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19{English}

Now more than ever, Ukrainian teens are looking for hope. They ask tough questions and look for honest answers.

Why is this happening?
What is my future?
Why am I walking this earth?

We are there to encourage them, love them, tell them about the hope they can have in Jesus — and disciple the next generation of leaders.


The horrific war with neighboring Russia has changed the landscape of this beautiful country in the past year. It impacted everyone – the young and the old in ways that are difficult to understand.

But despite these overwhelming challenges, thousands of teens still hear the message of hope. Young Life leaders are there on the ground, walking with them, pointing them to Jesus – the God who is able to raise beauty in place of death and grief. We believe He will continue to do so all throughout Ukraine.


This is what has always been at the center of our work. They are deeply rooted in God’s Word, committed to their calling, often giving up better-paying jobs and putting themselves at risk. And they tirelessly and boldly share His love with the kids.


Oleksandr (sasha)


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Central Ukraine

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West Ukraine

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Oleksandr (Sasha) Utkin, Regional Director, Ukraine

Sasha was born into an unbelieving family and raised by his mother in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. In 1994, at 18 years of age, he went to the first Ukrainian Young Life camp held in Ukraine, and a few months later decided to commit his life to Jesus. Later that year, he married his wife, Ira. After getting baptized, they joined the Young Life ministry as volunteers. In 1999, Sasha came on staff and, in 2008, became the Regional Director for Ukraine.

God used Sasha to build a thriving ministry, spreading to over 24 regions and reaching thousands of teenagers. Young Life training centers were established in several cities and used to teach current leaders and prepare future teams for work in the ministry. By 2021, 73 ministries were serving high schoolers, kids with special needs, orphans, and young mothers.

Today, as the war with Russia continues, Sasha remains full of hope. The dream is to restore what was lost and seek out God’s vision for the future of Young Life in Ukraine. He trusts God for 10,000 volunteer leaders by 2030 – an audacious goal yet possible with God.

Ira Utkin, Regional Director, YoungLives

Ira Utkin, the Divisional Director of YoungLives, came from a dysfunctional family, spending much of her youth in the streets with her friends and little hope.

Miraculously, in the summer of 1994, she learned about a Young Life camp in her hometown and gave her life to Jesus during that unforgettable week.

Over time, having served as a co-director of Young Life Ukraine alongside her husband Sasha, Ira sensed God calling her to lead her own ministry. At this point, she was the mother of six children, four of whom were adopted. So, YoungLives​ was born.

Today, Ira dedicates most of her time to the YoungLives​ ministry, which she calls YoungMoms. She invests in the lives of young women, pointing them to Jesus, and helping them become everything they were created to be. “For me, the most important thing is to stay committed and remember that I’m an instrument in God’s hands.”

Natasha Tsurkan, Area Director, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine

Natasha remembers being invited to the Young Life club many times before finally saying yes. Her first experience was in 2001, at the summer camp. During that week, Natasha encountered Jesus not as a strict and distant God but as a friend. After camp, Natasha started going to club and volunteering, and by the following summer, she got trained as a group leader. Natasha served in her hometown, Chernivtsy, for thirteen years before answering God’s calling and moving to Ivano-Frankivsk in 2008 to start the Young Life ministry there. ​

Today, as an Area Director, Natasha dreams about having Young Life ministry all over Ivano-Frankivsk. Together with a team of four leaders, they build relationships with teens, parents, and the local community.

Sasha Gusakov, Area Director, Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine

Sasha remembers a difficult childhood — he was bullied at school and had an alcoholic father at home. In college, he had a friend who connected him to Young Life and his life was never the same. Young Life was his first experience of friendship and love; he never wanted to go home! In 2004, Sasha went to camp and while looking up into the stars, he asked God for forgiveness. He remembers instant relief.

Sasha became involved in Young Life ministry and was soon offered a staff position. Though newly married and starting a family, he left his well-paying job to devote himself to full-time ministry. Sasha wants to offer his experience of transformation to young people all across Ukraine. He is now the Area Director in the city of Khmelnytskyi, where Young Life is growing at an incredible pace, reaching even more kids with the love of God.

Volodimir Hryhorchuk, Regional Director, West Ukraine

Volodimir grew up knowing about Jesus . As a young teen, he even went to the Young Life club. But as he became older, peer pressure got the best of him, and he walked away from the Lord. When he was 18, his old Young Life friends invited him to camp. Volodimir decided to go, although his heart was set on stirring trouble. Instead, something shifted in his heart during that week, and he became a child of God. After that camp, Volodimir immediately joined the Young Life ministry.

Today, Volodimir serves as an Area Director of Western Ukraine. Driven by his passionate desire to share the Gospel with kids, Volodimir is tirelessly pouring into his team of leaders. He dreams that leaders from different denominations and churches would come together one day in unity and love for Jesus and teenagers.


North Ukraine

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Central Ukraine

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East Ukraine

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South Ukraine

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Serhii Shevchenko, Regional Director, North Ukraine

Serhii decided to follow Jesus in 2008. One day, his classmate invited him to a Young Life club and asked him to play one of his rap songs in front of all the kids. Serhii loved it and kept coming back. Eventually, he became a leader, and in 2013 he moved to another city to open a club. Five years later, he did it again. This is how he discovered his passion for building relationships with new people and churches, opening clubs, and forming teams. Today, Serhii is the Regional Director in North Ukraine, responsible for four areas in that region. He and his wife of nine years live in the city of Vinnytsia. In his spare time, Serhii still loves to produce rap music and play basketball.

Bohdan Bilinskyi, Regional Director, Central Ukraine

Bohdan heard about Young Life from his classmates, who invited him to club. He loved everything about it, and when it was time for winter camp, he packed his bag and joined his friends. That was the week when Bohdan decided to dedicate his life to Christ. He was sixteen. When he returned from camp, he continued to go to club, never missing even one! During that time, Bohdan always dreamt about an opportunity to work for Young Life, and one day that opportunity became a reality. As a leader and a Regional Director of Central Ukraine, Bohdan loves carrying out God’s commission and seeing growth in his disciples. “Seeing the Kingdom of God spreading and impacting our country and the world is amazing.” With his wife, Bohdan dreams of having his own house and a dog one day. And in his spare time, he enjoys running, walking, and reading. ​

Oleh Kravetskyi, Regional Director, East Ukraine

Oleh grew up in a family of non-believers. When he was eight years old, he began attending church with his parents and accepted Jesus when he was 15. A few years later, Oleh got involved in the youth ministry at his church, learned about Young Life, and opened up a club in his city. Today, Oleh is the Regional Director of East Ukraine. One of his favorite things about Young Life is seeing God radically changing the lives of teens, giving them the deep joy that comes from finding life’s meaning. Oleh is married to his wife, Oksana, and they have two wonderful kids and a cat. Oleh enjoys spending time with friends, hiking, and fishing in his free time

Illia Perevozniuk, Regional Director, South Ukraine

Illia learned about Young Life from the Ukraine Regional Director, Sasha Utkin. He started coming to club and eventually decided to follow Jesus. Church has always been a big part of Illia’s life, where he served as a youth leader. When Sasha invited Illia to come on staff, Illia knew Young Life was what he was called to do. Shortly after, he took on the role of the Regional Director for South Ukraine. For Illia, understanding what the ministry does and how their teams serve and answer the calling are the things he treasures the most. Illia and his wife, Mariya, have a son, David, and a daughter, Rebecca. He enjoys traveling and dreams of one day visiting every country in the world.

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Every day life is being impacted.


kids in outreach clubs every week


kids in discipleship groups every week


Developing Global Leaders


volunteer leaders


national staff



Our Ministries

Teens and young adults participate in many activities under the umbrella of Young Life. Here are the ministries currently present throughout Ukraine:

Club: High School Ministry
WyldLife: a Ministry for kids ages 10-14
College: a ministry
for young adults
Campaigners: a
Discipleship group

Get Involved

partner with us

Partnering with us will give you unique opportunities to experience God’s gift of provision. We value thoughtful stewardship and accountability and will ensure your resources are directed toward the most critical needs.

join our community

If you love Jesus and want to share your passion for sharing the Gospel with the kids throughout Ukraine with a group of fun-loving adults, consider joining Action Team Ukraine!
Contact: Action Team Coordinator

Go & See

Due to the current political situation, all trips to Ukraine have been postponed until further notice.
Contact: Expeditions Coordinator

Join Us!

We invite you to be part of this life-changing journey that will transform your life and give the next kid in Ukraine an opportunity to hear the best love story ever told.

share hope, change lives, impact a generation.

Young Life Middle EurAsia introduces teens in Armenia, Belarus, the Baltics, Central Asia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine to Jesus Christ and helps them grow in their faith.

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