<![CDATA[Bravery Foundation - BLOG & NEWS]]>Sat, 25 May 2024 04:26:45 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[‘Small hands, big hearts’: Kelowna students help disabled Ukrainian boy]]>Fri, 12 Apr 2024 07:00:00 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/small-hands-big-hearts-kelowna-students-help-disabled-ukrainian-boyNine-year-old Dimtry needed a generator to power his life-sustaining medical equipment
Gary Barnes Apr 12, 2024

​In a world often marked by division and conflict, there still are beacons of hope.

The small hands and big hearts of Aberdeen Hall’s Grade 3 class recently came together to make a difference in the life of Dimtry, a nine-year-old Ukrainian disabled boy living amidst the chaos of war-torn Kharkiv, Ukraine.

It began at Aberdeen Hall’s annual community market where students crafted bookmarks, bracelets, necklaces, purses, and keychains to raise funds for a meaningful cause.

When they learned Dimtry needed a generator to power his life-sustaining medical equipment they donated the $1,107 they’d raised at their school market to support him.

The Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association (UCVA), a not-for-profit society based in the Okanagan, joined forces with Kelowna-based Bravery Foundation to help.
Through the acts of kindness by the students of Aberdeen Hall, UCVA, and the Bravery Foundation, a profound difference has been made in Dimtry’s life.

Their collective effort stands as a testament to the universal impact that compassion, collaboration, and empathy can have, transcending borders, nationality, and distance.
<![CDATA[Ukrainian Movies Coming to Big Screen in Kelowna]]>Thu, 08 Feb 2024 08:00:00 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/ukrainian-movies-coming-to-big-screen-in-kelowna
Gary Barnes Feb 8, 2024 5:30 AM

Bravery Foundation and Ukraine Harmony Foundation are presenting Ukrainian Movies in the Okanagan.

The film is called My Carpathian Grandpa and it will be shown at the Grand 10 Cinema.

It tells the story of Michele, who lives in Italy, and how his life is turned upside down when forced to relocate to a small village in the Carpathian Mountains to live with his grandfather.

Tickets are $22.18 and are available through Eventbrite.

The show is on Feb. 22 at Grand 10 Cinema, 948 McCurdy Road, with seats on a first come first serve basis.

The film is in Ukrainian with English subtitles.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with the movie showing from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

More information about the Bravery Foundation and Ukraine Harmony Foundation can be found on their websites.

The screening will be a Grand 10 Cinema, 948 McCurdy Road

<![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[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[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[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
<![CDATA[Kelowna to Welcome Displaced Ukrainian Family]]>Thu, 07 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/kelowna-to-welcome-displaced-ukrainian-family
Kelowna will welcome a temporarily displaced Ukrainian family this weekend.

The Bravery Foundation has supported a Ukrainian family in their escape from the war in Ukraine.

Local teacher Nina Typusiak is housing the displaced family, mother Ivanka, and children Maxim, 9, and Natalia, 6.

Their last name has been redacted to protect their privacy. Andre, their father and husband stayed behind in Ukraine to fight.

“We need to honour their privacy and fear,” said Typusiak about respecting the trauma that the family has endured.

The family fled Ukraine on March 4 and since then have been staying with 12 other people in a one-bedroom apartment in Prague.

The three had to leave behind most of their belongings, able to bring only one suitcase and two small backpacks of essentials while fleeing the Russian attack.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran told Capital News that he is “pleased that members of the community have stepped up, I really commend those people opening their homes.”

Basran said “more refugees are welcome,” but acknowledges the difficulty that people face securing housing in the Okanagan.

“The situation is heartbreaking,” said Basran.

Typusiak hired a Toronto-based company to help Ivanka and her children obtain the appropriate papers to enter Canada.

The family has received their Visa and has purchased their plane ticket, paid for by Typusiak.

“The Bravery Foundation is working to help all refugees fleeing the war.”

Those looking to help Ivanka and her family, and those that will be arriving after them, can do so by donating or checking the Bravery Foundation website for specific needs that the arriving families have.

The website also provides up-to-date information for refugees and people escaping war hoping to enter Canada and for those able to host displaced families.

<![CDATA[SWEET UKRAINIAN MAMAS]]>Sat, 12 Mar 2022 08:00:00 GMThttps://braveryfoundation.com/blog--news/sweet-ukrainian-mamas
​Today, I drove to the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Kelowna to donate cash to some Ukrainian women I had recently connected with. These ladies had organized a bake sale to pay for medical supplies to send to Ukraine. I thought it would be a quick stop and that I could also buy some authentic pierogies and borscht after. To my great surprise, the lineup snaked through the parking lot, spilling over onto the adjacent road and continued down the cross street. I thought, well isn't it wonderful to see my community coming together to aid these amazing women in their mission to help Ukraine. So many smiling faces, both young and old.

Sweet Ukrainian Mamma

I picked up my cell phone and called the women from the group I spoke to earlier in the week from the Ukrainian Catholic Church and asked if she could come out to collect my donation because I didn't have time to stand in line to get food. I realized I would have to explain to my youngest why I didn't come home with some delicious home cooked Ukrainian food as promised, but oh well such is life. The sweet Ukrainian mamma answered my call and came out right away. 

Community Connection

What I love most about the last few days is the demonstrated proof that Kelowna is filled with kind and caring people who are willing to connect, share and help when called upon! Life is filled with different people and various situation we must all learn to navigate. I'm as proud of my community as I am of Ukrainians because they're ALL willing to stand up for FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY. Although my heart has been broken since learning of the war in Ukraine, it was now filled with joy when I saw all these people lining up to help! It humbled me and reminded of a prayer I pray every morning. "Help me remain humble so Truth is revealed, acceptance achieved and expectations adjusted, no matter the outcome."

Prayer of Truth

As I write this blog tonight, I remembered a lesson life taught me back in 2016, as I sat by my sister's hospital bed while she recovered from the removal of one of her lungs due to cancer. And that is this: "We have no power or control over when we're brought into this world or when we leave it, so why do we struggle to have power and control while here?"

We all struggle with something, and no matter how big or small it is. It's my belief there's always an answer if one chooses to seek Truth and humbly embrace struggle. "Becoming aware of and accepting Truth generates a natural resolve to trust. Focusing on a problem or an expected outcome limits materialization of new realities, whereas restricting expectations and trusting Truth opens doorways to endless possibilities."

Now that I know there's only one thing I can control in life, that being to humble myself where does this leave me? It leaves me resolved to embrace struggle so I can trust Truth, for it's the sole place one can find peace in a world filled with heartache and pain. 

Trust or Expectation 

I've learned understanding the difference between trust and expectations is critical. Trust at its core is an unconditional expectation or more simply put, an unrestricted belief in the integrity of someone or something. A great example of trust is ones willingness to jump on a trampoline. You trust that the trampoline has been engineered to handle the weight and tension bouncing creates, so you climb on and jump.  

An expectation, on the other hand, can be labeled as a premeditated resentment or an assumption that disappoints. When the outcome your expectation creates is different than you imagined, a resentment is generated. While it’s not unreasonable to have an expectation, it’s what you do with your expectation once it's not been met that counts. If you remain humble and fluid when an expectation falters, you will continue to be at peace because you trust in the Truth that there is always an answer. This is why I pray every morning, "Help me remain humble and embrace struggle, so Truth is revealed, acceptance achieved, expectations adjusted, no matter the outcome."

In these uncertain times, I encourage everyone to pray this prayer, so you too can have the peace that passes all understanding. 

​We are all in this TOGETHER!