<![CDATA[Bravery Foundation - BLOG & NEWS]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2023 21:31:34 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Ukrainian Volunteers Repay Canadian Kindness by Feeding West Kelowna Wildfire Crews]]>Tue, 22 Aug 2023 20:38:08 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/ukrainian-volunteers-repay-canadian-kindness-by-feeding-west-kelowna-wildfire-crews
GARY BARNES Aug. 22, 2023 1:15 pm.
Frontline responders were treated to 160 authentic Ukrainian meals

Members of the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association (UCVA) in the Central Okanagan have been busy cooking traditional Ukrainian food for frontline crews fighting the McDougall Creek wildfire.

Svitlana Shkyn of the UCVA, and Westside Salvation Army Coordinator Jennifer Henson, put a plan in place to cook and deliver 160 authentic Ukrainian meals that include borscht, nalysnyky (crepes) and fried stuffed buns to frontline first responders.

Eight Ukrainian families helped prepare the meals.

“The UCVA is assisting Canadians in West Kelowna during a disaster by arranging and offering delightful Ukrainian lunches, including Ukrainian borscht and other delectable treats,” said Shkyn.

She has worked with Bonnie Penner of Kelowna’s Bravery Foundation, a Canadian CRA-registered charity, over the past year and a half to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine and to support displaced Ukrainians relocating to the Okanagan.

Penner and Shkyn connected to expand the movement of Ukrainians giving back to the community that has supported them.

“We greatly appreciate all the support Ukrainian people get from the Canadian citizens,” added Shkyn. It is our time to pay back for all the great support we have received and continue to receive.”

Penner is also coordinating ‘Ukrainian Work Bees’ to help with property clean-up for the McDougall Creek, Walroy Lake and Clarke Creek fires.

She is also spearheading other initiatives with local organizations to help wildfire evacuees.

“My family and I were evacuated in the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Fire, and keenly understand what our community is going through,” said Penner.

According to a news release from the United Way, the event was spurred by a request from the Salvation Army, which is coordinating response efforts.

“Among those who prepared these nourishing meals are Ukrainian volunteers, some of whom are refugees themselves,” the release said. “Their journey has come full circle, having previously benefited from the United for Ukraine initiative spearheaded by United Way BC earlier this year.”

Donations to help pay for the ingredients for future meal preparation and other fire-related initiatives can be made to UCVA by e-transfer to ucva.ua@gmail.com.
<![CDATA[KELOWNA HELPS FLOOD VICTIMS IN KHERSON, UKRAINE]]>Wed, 14 Jun 2023 15:18:13 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/kelowna-helps-flood-victims-in-ukraine
Cindy White - Jun 14, 2023 / 4:00 am |

Volunteer organizations in the Central Okanagan have ramped up fundraising in light of the latest war-related disaster in Ukraine.

Dozens of people attended a rally and march at Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna Sunday to raise awareness and funds to help the hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine affected by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper River.

Bonnie Penner of the Bravery Foundation told Castanet that she was approached by her friend Vlasta Fantych about helping to organize a rally, along with the Ukrainian Catholic Church, We Help Ukraine and Kelowna Stands Ukraine.

“Vlasta and I addressed the crowd together and spoke of the inhumane suffering and destruction the flooding caused. I shared information about a group of Western volunteers who currently had boots on the ground and boats in the water in Kherson and were actively rescuing people and pets. Atlas Global Aid is a a 501(c)(3) organization and NGO. They continue to rescue civilians despite being shelled by the enemy during rescue operations,” said Penner. Donate to Atlas Global Aid here.

She adds that Lilia and Roman Myhnevych from We Help Ukraine brought to the rally more than 80 LifeStraws and asked the Bravery Foundation to ship them to the Kherson region. The personal water purification systems will be sent this week, in a shipment that also includes medical supplies.

Anna Vartanian, a member of the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association, shared a story from the front line of the flooding, in a village called Sadove, which is in Kherson Region.

She explained how Sadove is now under water, even though it isn’t on the Dnieper river, but on the Ingulka, which flows into the Dnieper. Some of the homes, made of dried clay, collapsed while other homes and businesses are still filled with water.

“For more than a year, Russians occupy and do horrible things in Ukraine. Daily they kill civilians, shoot point-blank ambulance drivers on the frontline, kill animals at natural reserves and many more terrible things. It has no end,” said Vartanian.

Kelowna Stands With Ukraine will be dipping into existing funds, including a $6,057 donation from the sale of yellow and blue Ukraine toques by Big White Ski Resort to send immediate aid to the people displaced by the flooding. KSWU is also planning a fundraising concert on June 22.

Vartanian is pleading with people to do what they can to help.

"It’s so comfortable to say I’m just a little person, I can’t do anything in this situation,” said Anna.

“There are 7,942,645,086 people on the planet. The current population of the Russian Federation is 146,117,960, so it is around 1.8 % of all population on the Mother Earth.

What is the amount of little people in this numbers? I’m pretty sure there are much more little people than big inhumane people.”

Link to Article: Castanet
<![CDATA[DONATED HYGIENE KITS HELP DISPLACED UKRAINIANS IN CENTRAL OKANAGAN]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2023 20:17:53 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/donated-hygiene-kits-help-displaced-ukrainians-in-central-okanagan
The kits were donated through the United Way with help from TD Bank
GARY BARNES Jun. 7, 2023 11:20 a.m.
Ukrainian immigrants escaping the war in their country, and coming to Kelowna, have one less worry thanks to the United Way BC.

With help from TD Bank, United for Ukraine representatives delivered dozens of hygiene kits to local organizations that will provide them to displaced Ukrainians.

“When people find their new home…they get a welcome bag which contains basically everything they need to get started, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush (etc.),” said Jacqueline Burgess, goods and services coordinator.

The kits were delivered to KSWU and We Help Ukraine.
“It’s really helpful,” adds Iryna Storozhuk from KSWU. “People arrive with just suitcases, and everything else they can get here because people in Kelowna and the Okanagan are very generous.”

Volunteer Coordinator with United for Ukraine Ainsley Tymchyna says the hygiene kits are also being delivered across the province.

“So it’s just that one less expense for them to help get them started.”
Bonnie Penner with the Bravery Foundation, which has partnered with the United Way, helped make the connection for the donation.

“Whenever they have an initiative in the Okanagan they contact me and we work together to make sure that all the organizations helping displaced Ukrainians in the Okanagan get what they need.”

More information and donation opportunities can be found on the KSWU and Bravery Foundation websites.

Link to Article: Kelowna Capital News
<![CDATA[MEDICAL SUPPLIES NEEDED IN UKRAINE!]]>Fri, 10 Mar 2023 21:47:28 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/medical-supplies-needed-in-ukraine
Donate Today!

​I received an urgent call from the frontlines of Ukraine for suture kits yesterday. One of our Canadian volunteers, who is a part of a medical evacuation team, said they lack basic medical supplies needed to save the wounded.

It's tragic to be a volunteer on the frontlines, risking your life to save another’s and then watch the one you rescued die because you didn’t have basic needles and thread (suture kits) to mend their wounds!

Thankfully in less than 24 hours, through a team effort, 10 boxes of medical supplies were gathered in Ukraine, boxed and shipped with the arrival date to the frontlines only a day and half away. Truly amazing what can be accomplished when everyone plays their part!

Now, 10 boxes might sound like a lot, but it is just a stop gap and will only last a short time.

The need for medical supplies is greater NOW than it has ever been in the entire year of this ugly, unjust war!
Donate Today!

​With your $10 donation 
to our Humanitarian Aid Fund we can purchase and ship one suture kit to the frontlines. Your gift empowers those risking their lives, in one of the most dangerous places in the world, to help save lives. 

The ripple effect of one life saved affects many, but sadly the opposite is also true! 
Our evacuation medical team is comprised of volunteers from Canada and the US who have the expertise and skills required to get the job done. But without supplies like Tactical CricKits, Stratafix devices and suture kits, lives are lost. 
Tactical CricKits provide a clean working surface and contain all required items to perform a surgical cricothyrotomy in a tactical environment (an incision to open airway passages). 
A Stratafix device is an antibacterial spiral knotless tissue control device that provides a more secure suture than traditional ones and is needed for larger wounds.
Suture kits are self-explanatory, in that they contain the basic materials needed to mend wounds.
Donate Today!

​Please donate to our Humanitarian Aid Fund, and we will make sure our brave volunteers get the medical supplies needed to help the injured and wounded.
The Bravery Foundation is based in Kelowna, BC and is a CRA registered charity. We issue tax receipts for donations made to purchase medical supplies for use in Ukraine.
  • $100 per Stratafix
  • $60 per CricKit
  • $10 per Suture Kit
Thank you for donating and saving a life today!
<![CDATA[Support Letter For Bravery Foundation From Okanagan MLA's]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2023 08:00:00 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/support-letter-for-bravery-foundation-from-okanagan-mlas]]><![CDATA[Kelowna Salutes Ukraine Expo]]>Thu, 16 Feb 2023 08:00:00 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/kelowna-salutes-ukraine-expo
Community groups come together on the anniversary of the Russian invasion for Kelowna Salutes Ukraine Expo
Cindy White - Feb 16, 2023/11:41 am
A year after Russia invaded Ukraine, the conflict drags on, and several organizations in Kelowna are coming together for an event to pay tribute to the people of Ukraine.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray will be among the guest speakers at the Kelowna Salutes Ukraine Expo on February 25.

The event will showcase what the Okanagan Co-operative for Ukraine (UCO), a collection of several organizations including the Bravery Foundation and Kelowna Stands with Ukraine, has accomplished over the past 12 months. It will also encourage locals to get involved.

“The goal is really for us to be able to showcase what all of our organizations have done collaboratively and individually in the past year. And then to be able to show the initiatives that we’re working on for this next year and see where others in the Okanagan are willing to participate and help us,” says Bonnie Penner of the Bravery Foundation.

There will be more than a dozen interactive displays, Ukrainian heirlooms, food sales, sales of Ukrainian speciality items, an online and silent auction and a photo booth.

The expo is being held at the Ukrainian Catholic Church at 1091 Coronation Avenue, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are by donation and can be purchased through Eventbrite.

The event will include a blessing from Father Pavlo, a minute of silence and the playing of Ukraine's national anthem. Along with Tracy Gray, there will be a representative from Kelowna
city council in attendance. Penner says MLA Norm Letnick won’t be able to attend, but he is sending a letter of support.

Link to Article: Castanet

<![CDATA[THE POWER & CONNECTION OF ONE!]]>Wed, 28 Dec 2022 00:49:23 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/the-power-connection-of-one
​One of the goals of our foundation is to assist displaced Ukrainians and refugees who are on their way to the Okanagan. I believe together we can accomplish this by facilitating connection between individuals, like yourself, with those who’ve been forced out of their war ravaged homeland. At the Bravery Foundation we tap into resources our community offers so we can help our new Ukrainian friends. I’m confident everyone I connect with wants them to feel welcomed, supported and a part of our Okanagan family.
The Power of One
Many of us believe we can’t make a difference because we are only one person, but my experience has taught me this simply is not true. Community is comprised of many ones. A great example of the difference one can make is represented by how many toys, clothes and household items have been donated to displaced Ukrainians settling in the Okanagan, including Ivanka, Maksym and Natalia, the displaced Ukrainian family our foundation helped bring to Kelowna early on in the war. 
Soon after the war began I realized in order to help Ukrainians who want to enter Canada would benefit by having easy access to government programs. As one person all that was required was to make a few strategic phone calls to our local MLA’s, MP’s and mayor’s offices. Each offered various links and information regarding programs already in place to support displaced Ukrainians. After some simple data entry by one person, the Federal, Provincial, Regional and Local resource pages on our website was born! 

The Connection of One

Since the start of the war, I’ve developed a deep connection with many Ukrainians in the Okanagan. I do not speak Ukrainian, and I have no prior connection to Ukraine through family or friends. What I’ve uncovered is that Ukraine has a rich culture and that they are all connected one with the other. I’ve found each Ukrainian has a heart so big and a solidarity to remain free so strong, that it’s inspired me to help them in any way I can.

My hope, as each one of you reads this one blog, is that you are empowered to continue your one person journey. I strongly believe in the power and connection of one, that together as other ones, we can collectively accomplish the commission of helping those who’ve lost everything. Thank you to each and every one of you for joining me in this connection of one! 
TOGETHER we are stronger ! 
<![CDATA[Today I Saw Hell From the Inside!]]>Fri, 30 Sep 2022 19:09:16 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/today-i-saw-hell-from-the-inside
​Not a place for God’s punishment… Children blown apart, a dog left blind, deaf and in tears, a father holding body parts of his loved ones… THIS IS A PLACE FOR HUMANS TO RESTORE JUSTICE, NOT GOD!" 

“I don’t know how to start… I am totally confused… Today I saw Hell from the inside. Sometimes, we think the war is close but that it won’t affect us, or that it will pass us by. Today though, it touched us, down the block and next door. “ said Dnipro city mayor, Borys Filatov.

“When the war began, a mother chose to take her children from Polia Avenue to the safety of their grandmother’s house. Today, a Russian rocket blew their home apart and left a blast hole of about 26 × 33 feet, which literally evaporated everyone. Grandmother Alla, mother Natasha, daughter Vasylyna, son Ivan, and lapdog Jack are gone. No, that’s not entirely true, the family is not gone and did not evaporate, remnants of their bodies have been found on their neighbors rooftops and on the street down the block. When rescue workers arrived, they found a neighbor’s old dog, Krym, sitting and howling on the ruins of what once was his home. When the employees of the utility services arrived, they took Krym, now deaf, blind, and shell-shocked, to Zookontrol Utility Enterprise. Vets treated him with medicine to stabilize the once loved pet. Then the father of the family arrived, a defender, whose unit is serving near the town of Lyman. The rest is too painful to write…

I saw all of this with my own eyes and wanted just one thing: The beasts our forces encircle near Lyman to be punished as they deserve. This is not a place for God’s punishment, it is up to us humans to restore justice ourselves.” -Borys Filatov, Dinipro City Mayor.

"I still cannot believe this is happening in a European state today, and that the crazy bastards get away with murder… Will this horror ever end?" -Tatiana Arendarchuck (Translator of article from: UAInfo)

 Мер Дніпра Борис Філатов:

"Я не знаю з чого почати. ​​Пишу, а думки плутаються. ... Сьогодні я побачив Пекло зсередини. Іноді нам здається, що війна поряд, але нас не стосується. Або стосується, але пройде мимо. Я розповім вам сьогоднішню історію. Те, що  трапилося на сусідній з нами вулиці.
 Жила-була сім'я.  Коли почалася війна, то мама вирішила перевезти малечу з проспекту Поля в безпечніше місце.  У приватному секторі.  До бабусі.  Сьогодні до їхнього будинку прилетіла російська ракета.  Вирва, яку ви все бачили на фотографіях, приблизно 8 на 10 метрів.  Люди буквально випарувалися.  Бабуся Алла, мама Наташа, дочка Василина та син Іван.  І маленький песик Джек.  Ні.  Я буду відвертим до кінця.  Дехто не просто випарувався.  Їх знайшли у сусідів на дахах.  На сусідніх вулицях.  А коли приїхали рятувальники, на руїнах сидів старий пес Крим.  І вив.  А потім приїхали комунальники.  І відвезли собаку, який оглух, осліплий і контужений, до КП "Зооконтроль", і там міські ветеринари колють пса серцевими препаратами, щоб нормалізувати.  
А потім приїхав батько.  Він служить у ЗСУ.  Під Лиманом.  Можна я далі не продовжуватиму?
 Я бачив усе на власні очі.  Я хочу лише одного.  Щоб ті тварюки, яких наші оточують під Лиманом, відповіли за все сповна.  Не треба писати про Божу кару.  Нехай Боженька відпочине". – Борис Філатов, Дніпровський міський голова.
Досі не можу вмістити у своєму розумінні, як це трапляється у центрі Європи і цім скаженим отморозкам сходе це з рук…
Невже цей кошмар буде продовжуватися й далі? -Тетяна Арендарчук (Переклад статті з: UAInfo)


<![CDATA[Calls For Ukrainian Fee Relief]]>Sat, 25 Jun 2022 07:00:00 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/calls-for-ukrainian-fee-relief
MLA adds his voice to calls to waive medical exam fees for displaced Ukrainians
Cindy White - Jun 25, 2022 / 4:00 am | 
KSWU and the Bravery Foundation are getting support from Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick in a campaign to ease one burden for displaced Ukrainians.

Both organizations have been lobbying for the province to waive the fee for a mandatory medical exam for the new arrivals. Under federal entry rules, the medical exams have to be completed within 90 days of arrival in Canada and they are not currently covered by the Province of BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).

In a letter addressed to Minister of Health Adrian Dix, Letnick writes that the cost of these tests can be as high as $2,000 for a family of four.

“Other provinces have chosen to support the Ukrainians fleeing this horrendous war by covering the costs of the federal medical exams,” writes Letnick. “ I am requesting that you consider welcoming and supporting our displaced Ukrainians with also covering the costs of the federal medical exams.”

Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador are already covering the costs of the exams for displaced Ukrainians living in those provinces.

Typically, people applying for work permits, or who have lived for six months in a country with a higher incidence of serious communicable diseases, have to submit the results of a medical diagnostic test before they can come to Canada.

Under Ottawa’s expedited visa process, the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), that rule was changed to give people 90 days after arrival to submit their results.
Bonnie Penner of The Bravery Foundation has penned a letter to Dix.

“Displaced Ukrainians arrive in our province with usually only one suitcase, which represents all they now own. Adding onto the backs of these people, costs associated with medical exams, seems not only unfair but cruel,” she writes.

“I greatly appreciate that the BC Government has waived the usual three month waiting period for MSP so displaced Ukrainians receive immediate medical coverage. It is my belief, now that your government is aware of their plight, regarding costly medical exams, action will be taken to support our Ukrainian friends,” adds Penner.

Denys Storzhuk of KSWU says even more than a provincial exemption, he’d like to see the federal government waive the medical exam cost for all incoming Ukrainians.
<![CDATA[MAMAS OPEN FOR UKRAINIANS]]>Sat, 11 Jun 2022 07:00:00 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/mamas-open-for-ukrainians
Mamas for Mamas teams up with the Bravery Foundation to offer a shopping spree for displaced Ukrainians
Cindy White - Jun 11, 2022 / 4:00 am 
Many arrived in the Central Okanagan with just the clothes on their back, and now Bravery Foundation and Mamas for Mamas are teaming up to offer displaced Ukrainians a chance to go on a free shopping spree.

“We’re basically closing down Mamas for Mamas Karma Market and our warehouse to the public so that we can have all of the Ukrainian families who have come in, either displaced or refugees, to get access to anything and everything we have,” explains Mamas for Mamas founder Shannon Christensen.

“So, hygiene products, clothing, baby essentials. We’re working with a couple of different companies in town right now to see if we can get extra food there, just to get them set up with a few extra things right off the bat.”

Christensen said they are working in conjunction with KCR Community Resources, the Central Okanagan Food Bank and other organizations that are helping the new arrivals.

She adds that many of the Ukrainians need furniture, bedding, kitchen essentials and other things to fill their homes here.

Mamas for Mamas will be opening their warehouse and store locations on June 15 from 10:00 a.m to noon and then again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. so the families and individuals who recently arrived in the Okanagan from the conflict zone can pick up some needed supplies.

Those who are interested are required to register in advance because time slots are limited.
Christensen estimates the event will help about 150 people.

“Right now we have primarily people registered from Kelowna but we’re opening it up all the way from Vernon to Penticton because we know that many agencies are stuck for resources right now in terms of the extras. So we want to make sure that any family from all over the Okanagan knows that they can come in.”

Anyone who wants to help can sign up to volunteer with Mamas for Mamas at: info@mamasformamas.org