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 strategically accomplish this by facilitating connection between individuals, like yourself, with those who’ve been forced out of their war ravaged homeland. We at the Bravery Foundation are strategically tapping into resources our community already has in order to 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!
We are all in this TOGETHER!
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)
MLA adds his voice to calls to waive medical exam fees for displaced Ukrainians
Cindy White - Jun 25, 2022 / 4:00 am |
Kelowna Stands with Ukraine 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 Kelowna Stands With Ukraine says even more than a provincial exemption, he’d like to see the federal government waive the medical exam cost for all incoming 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: email@example.com
The Bravery Foundation has partnered with a major charitable group to further help Ukrainians settle in Kelowna.
“I’ve teamed with the United Way and their iVolunteer program,” said Bravery Foundation founder Bonnie Penner. “It gives me access to many of their resources.”
It means she can help displaced Ukrainian families find housing, furniture, clothing, personal and other items. Penner has also connected with English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, working with Kelowna Stands With Ukraine to offer language classes.
She is also working with groups through KCR Community Resources as well as with Mamas For Mamas.
“I’ve coordinated a program with Mamas For Mamas where they put together welcome baskets for families, that I pick up and deliver to KCR,” said Penner. Their main initiative right now is to get all displaced Ukrainians registered through KCR.”
As well, Penner has connected with employers to help find jobs for Ukrainian refugees.
“I was able to facilitate a job hiring fair with the Eldorado (Hotel). They have hired several people. I’m working with Bylands Nursery on job postings as well.”
Penner said she’s also partnered with Argus Hospitality Group to set up emergency housing.
It has been a busy few months for Penner since she started the Foundation.
“The natural outcome of vision is passion, and when you have passion you naturally have drive.”
For more information about the Bravery Foundation and the organizations and programs it’s involved with, click here to visit its website.
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.
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.
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!
(CARLI BERRY / iNFOnews.ca)
March 12, 2022 - 6:00 PM
More than 100 people lined up outside a Ukrainian church this afternoon, including a Kelowna woman looking to support Ukraine through humanitarian aid.
The line was so long at the Ukrainian Catholic Church for its fundraiser to provide Ukraine with medical supplies that it stretched around the building and down the sidewalk. Russia invaded the country last month, causing more than a million people to flee.
Bonnie Penner said volunteers will be travelling to Ukraine and assisting in humanitarian efforts. She also donated to the church Saturday afternoon, March 12.
She’s collecting donations collecting donations to provide the volunteers with supplies and to cover their plane tickets.
"It was the right thing to do. I had to find a way to help," Penner said.
Donations are being collected through her website and she will also be giving donations to Ukrainian groups in town like the church.
Lilia Soltysmykhnevych and Uliana Kotsur are both members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and are both originally from Ukraine and their families are still there.
“If we have to help someone, we want to do it right away,” Kotsur said. They were surprised to see the long line of people waiting outside to buy Ukrainian food, since the event was only shared in a few Facebook posts.
A Kelowna nurse was also helping gather medical supplies with the church.
Maria Melnyk is a first-generation Canadian whose family immigrated from Ukraine. As a nurse with a strong understanding of Ukraine she’s been coordinating the collection of medical supplies from various businesses in Kelowna.
“I can’t comprehend why this is happening, it’s not right. I’m grateful that I can help but the amount of guilt that I feel and I’m not even there. I can’t sleep, I can’t sit still. I just want to go and be there and I want to help,” she said.
A rally for Ukraine is also being held tomorrow outside of City Hall at 2 p.m.