Sage Canyon community gives big to student’s House of Ukraine donation drive

Sage Canyon sixth grader Daniella Segal led a donation drive for House of Ukraine.

When Carmel Valley 12-year-old Daniella Segal saw the images of the Ukraine invasion on her television, of children just like her frightened and forced to leave their homes, she was moved to action.

“I can change this,” she told herself. “I can do something to make a difference.”

From March 14-18 at Sage Canyon Elementary School, where she is in sixth grade, Daniella led a hugely successful donation drive to support The House of Ukraine.

“My mom’s car was so full, we had to make three trips back and forth!” Daniella said of her mom’s minivan that was stuffed to the roof. “It was really cool to see how generous people from the school were and how much they cared.”

After learning about what was happening in Ukraine, she went to her mother Sophia with her idea to help. Together they looked up local charities that were supporting Ukraine from San Diego, finding the House of Ukraine and reaching out to ask what they needed. The House of Ukraine in Balboa Park was accepting donations and humanitarian supplies to help the millions of Ukrainians who have lost their homes since the end of February.

The Segal family minivan filled with donations for House of Ukraine.

With the information from House of Ukraine, Daniella next reached out to Sage Canyon School Principal Alison Fieberg to ask permission to hold a fundraising drive at school.

“Everyone is talking about the crisis in Ukraine. My friends and I are all discussing it. We are comparing our lives to those kids who are seeking shelter as we speak…Many feel helpless when faced with crisis but I know we can help at Sage Canyon,” Daniella wrote to Fieberg. “Humanitarian acts come in all sizes…I would like to be a part of the movement to help the families and children in Ukraine.”

Segal said Fieberg loved the idea and they talked about how to talk to kids about the situation and spread the word—she made a blue and yellow flyer that read “You Can Help Ukraine”, with help from her older brother Max, a student at Canyon Crest Academy.

The response was overwhelming: “The whole Sage Canyon family really blew my mind,” Sophia said. Donation bins overflowed with donated items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, bandages, baby diapers, baby wipes and first aid kits.

The Segals delivered the items to House of Ukraine that Friday and they are already on their way to the country.

“I am always amazed by our students compassion and commitment to making positive change whether it’s on our school campus, in our local community, or in another part of the world,” said Fieberg. “Daniella saw a need and felt compelled to contribute. I am so appreciative for the community’s support of her efforts.”

Daniella will be heading to Carmel Valley Middle School in the fall. She plays the piano and tennis and also enjoys drawing. With the success of this effort, she is encouraged to continue her philanthropic efforts, possibly taking on other causes to help such as Rady Children’s Hospital.

Daniella’s family and neighbors are very proud of the kind young woman she is becoming. From her mother, she has learned that helping others is a privilege.

“It really brings the light out, it’s the same feeling as getting an ‘A’ on a test or ice cream for your birthday,” Daniella said. “It’s a really good feeling that doesn’t happen too often.

“Maybe this will inspire other people to help.”

Like Daniella, the House of Ukraine has been overwhelmed with the amount of support received from the San Diego community. They have temporarily suspended the collection of all clothing and hygiene item donations but are still accepting monetary donations, military protective gear and medical aids. To learn more, visit