Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday, November 6 in an online format, with over seventy delegates and guests in attendance.
“The dedication and perseverance with which our Ukrainian Canadian community, organizations, and volunteers from coast to coast have responded to the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has been inspiring,” stated Alexandra Chyczij, National President of the UCC. “Thank you to everyone whose support of the UCC makes our work possible.”
Following the AGM, reports from various branches of UCC across Canada were published on the UCC website. Below is a summary of UCC Alberta’s report.
“This past year has made its mark and presented new challenges for our Ukrainian organizations in Alberta,” said President of UCC-APC Orysia Boychuk.
“Despite the COVID challenges, the Ukrainian Community continued to work and thrive within the ever-changing restrictions and parameters we faced,” she said.
UCC Alberta reached out to the community partners across the province to remind them about the incredible resilience that this community shares. After securing $38,485 through the Emergency Support for Community Organizations federal grant, the Branch completed multiple pandemic response projects and distributed direct aid to over 6100 individuals, including children, youth, immigrants, women, seniors over 65.
Over two months, the Branch members put together and distributed 600 packages to seniors and children.
“We connected with our community partners across the province to find out how their members were doing,” the report said. “We did a scan of the activities and offered support to help them manage the pandemic.
Over three days, the members visited nine communities (in Lamont, Smoky Lake, St. Paul, Elk Point, Two Hills, Calgary, Grande Prairie), travelled 1,400kms and delivered 600 packages.
“I am so proud of the continued work and engagement with our youth and our many organizations,” Boychuk said. “As a community, we forged through and demonstrated our resilience by mastering online presence for meetings, learning events and planning activities to fulfill their organizational needs.”
The Branch’s online presence allowed UCC-APC to plan and eventually to host in-person events for the community including our annual Ukrainian Heritage Day Festival and the 30th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence. UCC-APC held eleven webinars that added up to almost 4,000 views!
“We hoped to educate, inspire, and empower individuals in the community and beyond with these webinars! We heard from the viewers that they found value in our sessions,” the report said.
The topics included:
Empowerment Series: Post Secondary Options (2 sessions with various colleges, universities and educational programs in Alberta), Basic Computer Skills (English and Ukrainian), MS Word and Excel (English and Ukrainian), Google Suite.
Resilience Series: Listening skills, Coping with Change, Getting licensed for Immigrant Professionals, Labour Laws in Alberta.
Unique information session for the community organizations on digital transformation.
These webinars were made possible with support from the Canada Red Cross and are available here.
“We were able to strengthen our relationships with many communities across the province and establish new relationships,” Boychuk said. “There was also a special focus on activities to help support our children, youth and seniors this year.”
Children and youth are a segment of the community who continue to be deeply affected by the pandemic. Lack of interactions with peers and after-school activities and cancellations of the field trips create a tremendous disconnect. UCC Alberta initiated a new project at the beginning of 2021 to help children cope with the changes brought on by the pandemic.
“Our Children’s Storytime series success during our virtual Ukrainian Days Festival ignited a passion for starting another Storytime series,” the report said.
These series featured a mix of books in Ukrainian and English read by community leaders – Most Rev. Bishop David Motiuk, MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk (Vegreville-Fort-Saskatchewan), Natalyya Nayavko (Special Language Consultant with Alberta Education), Orysia Boychuk (President, UCC-APC), Taras Podilsky (Principal, St. Brendan School), Iryna Tatko (Senior Interpreter, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village). These stories focused on resilience and perseverance. The playlist is available here.
This article is written under the Local Journalism Initiative agreement