UCC Toronto awards scholarships to commemorate milestone
March 1, 2022
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Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Toronto Branch awarded eight young members of the Ukrainian community in Toronto with scholarships to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the branch.
“It is very, very important for our organization and our community to recognize the youth that works in the community now, has worked already at their very young age, and showed incredible leadership skills already at such a very young age. All the winners tonight that will be presented are already leaders in our community,” said Petro Schturyn, President of UCC – Toronto during the awards presentation on February 28.
UCC – Toronto launched the Ukrainian Canadian Congress 80th Anniversary Scholarship Award for Ukrainian Canadian students enrolled in an accredited program of studies in the GTA. The eight recipients were as follows:
Alana Kohut, University of Toronto;
Aleksa Gobosz, McMaster University;
Alexandra Holyk, Ryerson University;
Larisa Hemon, McMaster University;
Larysa Stech, Brock University;
Oresta Hewryk, University of Guelph;
Sofia Holowatsky, Western University;
Sophia Holowaty, University of Toronto.
The recipients are involved in various seams of the Ukrainian Canadian community, said Marika Stadnyk, VP of External Affairs for UCC.
They created and led programs in various youth organizations such as CYM, Plast and SUSK, volunteered in hospitals and seniors residents, served on executives of university youth groups and organizing programs, volunteered for children’s health education. They have volunteered by leading programming for cultural and artistic groups. They have volunteered in churches. They have volunteered and led programming as summer camp and children’s programs councillors. And they have been involved in a whole lot of community fundraising.
“That’s why we need them,” Stadnyk said.
Stadnyk said that particularly during the last two years of the pandemic, the award recipients continued their work by organizing socials, educational and informative webinars, virtual koliada, perogy nights and much more.
“We thought this was the perfect opportunity to recognize them with $1,000 scholarship,” Stadnyk said.
She said that the criteria for the scholarship were that it had to be students between 18 and 21 years old, who completed at least one year of post-secondary education.
“We made sure to place a wide criteria to attract many young people who are doing all kinds of activities,” she said.
The award is jointly funded by UCC Toronto and Toronto Ukrainian Foundation. It is made possible by the generous donation from the Estate of Roman Kolisnyk, a long-time supporter of UCC-Toronto.
“80 years ago, Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Toronto Branch was created, the goal was to unite the community for the common good of Ukrainian Canadians in Toronto,” Schturyn said during the presentations.
During the presentation, Schturyn said that the scholarship was not based on academic achievement but rather on recognizing what the youth has accomplished in the community.
“Continue to do what you do because you’ve already shown us what you do, you do very well,” he said.
The scholarships were presented by the president of the Toronto Ukrainian Foundation Michael Szubelak and Mayor of Toronto John Tory.
“There are only certain types of people that become activists and what that carries with it is a special responsibility for not just to help other people that might need support in one way or another,” Tory said, “but you are the people that are going to be called upon to stand in solidarity with those who are in Ukraine who are facing unimaginable circumstances.”
“Being Ukrainian is such an important part of who you are,” he said. “What’s going on in Ukraine now is part of our history.”
Tory also spoke about the situation in Ukraine and Toronto’s support for the Ukrainian community.
“The reason I’ve come to love this community so much in Toronto is because these are contributing, caring, accomplished Canadians of Ukrainian background,” he said.
“We are together with you not just because you are our fellow residents of Toronto, but we’re with you because we do not put up with the notion that anybody can walk into a free democratic country and oppress the people who are trying to live their lives and trying to build a greater country,” Tory said.
Schturyn said that more than 20,000 people showed up on Sunday to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.
“That is the largest gathering of Ukrainian Canadians and friends in the history of Canada,” he said. “It was a historic moment.”
He said that Canada announced that it will be sending 2,000 missile systems and anti-tank equipment to Ukraine in the next few days.
“Ukraine will prevail,” he said.
This article is written under the Local Journalism Initiative agreement