COSTA MESA — Kateryna Malakhova, 23, grew up in the small town of Novakakhovka, Ukraine, dreaming about playing tennis in Europe, living near the beach and giving the children in her community a place to play.
But in the Eastern European city of her youth there was a sense of closed doors and of corruption, she said.
Nevertheless, Malakhova accomplished her first dream, is living her second and is on her way to the third — a project she believes will give fresh hope to her old community that change can happen.
"I want to show that everything is possible and bring that hope," Malakhova said in a thick Russian accent.
In her final semester at Vanguard University, Malakhova is working with Vice President of Students Affairs Ann Hamilton and the organization Kids Around the World to bring a refurbished playground to the heart of Novakakhovka.
The playground will give children a place to use their imaginations and parents a chance to stop and converse, Hamilton said.