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.