“The natural outcome of vision is passion, and when you have passion you naturally have drive.”
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.
The first meet-and-greet will be this Saturday (May 28) at 10:30 a.m. at the First Baptist Church at 1309 Bernard Avenue.
“Their level of English has to be from zero to intermediate,” added Penner. “If they have a high-level, other classes will be offered at a later date.”
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. She takes inspiration from her son, who is embedded with Ukrainian forces and is helping to move men, women and children out of danger. Penner said she has vision.
“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.
There is a fundraiser to cover the cost of urgent dental work the family requires. E-transfers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to help cover the cost of dental work and upcoming medical bills.
Children displaced by the war in Ukraine, who have come to Kelowna and started school, are loving it.
Less than a week at their new school, the two children have made friends in their class and wake up in the mornings excited for the new day, said Nina Typusiak, a Kelowna woman housing distant Ukrainian relatives of her husband.
It has been nearly two weeks since Typusiak and her husband opened their home to a mother and her two children fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Typusiak said she received a Facebook message from the family, after the Russian military invaded Ukraine, asking “can you please save our family”. Although relatives of Typusiak’s husband, they had never previously met in person. But that didn’t stop Typusiak from saying yes immediately.
However, the husband of the family had to stay behind in Ukraine.
“Every day he sends me messages thanking me, for keeping his family safe. He wishes he could be in Canada too,” said Typusiak.
Despite their cultural and language differences, Typusiak said that now they feel like one family living together under the same roof.
Glenmore Dental gave the Ukrainian mom a free dental appointment and determined that she requires urgent intervention. Typusiak explained that they are fundraising to cover the costs of the urgent treatment the mother and her children require. E-transfers can be sent to email@example.com to help cover the cost of dental work and upcoming medical bills.
The community has been incredibly supportive, said Typusiak.
I sight Optometry in Kelowna offered to give free eye exams and glasses.
Their house is full of new toys, bikes, scooters and donated clothing, said Typusiak.
Heather MacKay from Villa Salon gave the three Ukrainians free haircuts to help the kids confident on their first day of school and while joining their new community.
School District 23 and the staff in the international department have been incredible, said Typusiak.
She said that the school district has been welcoming, accommodating and supportive to the family. The children were given all their school supplies and get a hot lunch at school each day.
Their mother is currently enrolled in English courses and once she receives the proper documentation will be able to begin working.
“She is very quiet and doesn’t ask for much,” said Typusiak.
Typusiak said that they are looking into summer camps and activities for the children and welcome suggestions and donations for activities like swimming lessons.
Kelowna Stands with Ukraine and the Bravery Foundation have also been incredibly supportive and accomodating, said Typusiak. They have welcomed the new family and facilitated the distribution of donations to this and other displaced families.
JACQUELINE GELINEAU / Apr. 22, 2022 5:00 p.m. / COMMUNITY
One of the goals of my foundation is to assist Ukrainian displaced persons and refugees who are on their way to the Okanagan. I believe together we can strategically accomplish this goal by facilitating connection between individual people, like yourself, with those who’ve been forced out of their homeland due to war. The Bravery Foundation is not trying to reinvent the wheel, but rather strategically and tactically tap into resources our community already has. I’m confident everyone who I’m connecting with wants our new Ukrainian friends to feel welcomed, supported and a part of our Okanagan family. (This post was originally an email sent out to generous Okanagan donors responding to Kelowna's first Ukrainian displaced family).
The Journey 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 one persons. A great example is represented by how many toys, clothes and household items have been donated by many one persons, in one day, after just one article was written by one person in the Kelowna Capital News, thank you Jacqueline Gelineau! Compounded by a second story published on Castanet by one person, Cindy White, and all of a sudden the one small choice of one person filled the large steel donation bin for Ukrainian refugees managed by 'Kelowna Stands With Ukraine' to overflowing. Thank you Kelowna!
So how will The Bravery Foundation continue to accomplish our one person goals? It’s not complex really and the second goal has already been put into action and objective achieved. I realized in order to help Ukrainians who want to enter Canada and those already are on their way, would benefit by having easy access to existing government programs. As one person all that was required of me was to make a few strategic phone calls to our local MLA Norm Letnick, MP Tracy Gray and Mayor Colin Basran’s respective offices. Each in their own one person way offered various links and information regarding programs already in place to support displaced Ukrainians. The second step was to contact local Ukrainian groups I’ve been volunteering with and inquire about what they could each offer. Then in one evening I was able to, as one person, place on The Bravery Foundation's website, the information given to me by several one persons. And wah lah The Bravery Foundation’s federal, provincial, regional and local resource pages were born!
The Power of One
Today as each one of you sent me an email, and there were lots of you ones, which made me very happy, I pondered on how best to reply to each of you in a meaningful way. Then I realized all I had to do was make one email that I could send to all of you ones! My hope as each one of you reads this one email, that your soul is nourished and you are empowered to continue your one person journey together with me, as one mother whose one son has gone to the front lines in Ukraine to help evacuate one trapped civilian at a time. I strongly believe in the power one and trust together, as other ones, we can collectively accomplish the commission of helping those who’ve lost their homes, belongings and lives.
The Connection of One
Since the start of the war, I’ve developed a deep connection with many Ukrainians in the Okanagan one at a time. I do not speak Ukrainian, and I have no prior connection to Ukraine through family or friends. I’ve since discovered Ukraine’s rich culture, and connected with each person one at a time. I’ve found each one has a heart so big and a solidarity to remain free so strong, that it’s inspired me to help Ukrainians in any way I can. Thank you to each and every one of you for joining me in this journey of one!
We are all in this TOGETHER!
A HUGE Thank you to Dennis Stor and Kelowna Stands With Ukraine for paying for 10 sets of body armour and some tactical gear. The guys arrived safely at their destination today. A local Ukrainian woman Tatiana Arendarchuk helped procure a ride for my hero’s. I’m eternally grateful to you all! Thank you for your continued prayers and Gods speed to free Ukraine.!!
From Ukraine to Kelowna - Bravery Foundation Helps Bring Ukrainian Family to Kelowna Since the Russian Invasion Began
A Ukrainian family that fled Russian aggression is due to arrive in Kelowna this weekend.
Bonnie Penner, the founder of The Bravery Foundation, told Castanet that Ivanka, a woman in her mid-20s, her 9-year-old son Maxim and her 6-year-old daughter Natalia are expected to arrive this weekend.
They fled Ukraine on March 4 and have been staying with a friend of a friend in a one-bedroom apartment in Prague that’s shared by 12 other people. Ivanka’s husband has stayed behind to help free Ukraine and keep Ivanka’s mother safe.
The foundation has been helping Kelowna host Nina Typusiak navigate the red tape to bring her relatives here. “We just connected and I’m like, hey, I can do this for you. Let’s make this happen,” said Penner.
She says the host family doesn’t want to be inundated with calls, emails and messages in the first few weeks because they will be dedicating their energy to getting Ivanka and the children settled, so Bonnie is coordinating everything through the website.
“It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to raise a family from Ukraine,” she adds.
The trio will need everything from bus passes, to English lessons, to counselling and a job for Ivanka, who has been granted a work visa under Ottawa’s program for temporarily displaced persons.
The family is the first of what Bonnie hopes will be many to temporarily settle here.
“Our first mandate is to help those people get settled in the Okanagan, provide them tangible items like clothes and toys and different household things. And then also to connect community members in the valley with them for jobs and services and different things."
“I’ve created a resource for all people from Ukraine that are coming over to connect federally, provincially, regionally and locally. I’ve also got the government processes and procedures and hyperlinks. It’s like a resource that’s quick and easy,” explained Penner.
The Bravery Foundation is also raising money and resources for an international coalition of professional soldiers from around the world who have deployed to the war zone to help rescue civilians and defend Ukraine.
Bonnie’s son left Tuesday for the front. He will be embedded with a unit of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces and took much needed medical supplies with him to help treat the wounded in places cut off from most aid agencies.
Photo: The Bravery Foundation
Nina Typusiak, pictured with her daughter and husband, is hosting Ivanka and her children.
Cindy White - Apr 7, 2022 / 4:00 am
Castanet | St
A big shout out to Kelowna Stands With Ukraine and Dennis Stor for supplying 10 sets of body armour and tactical gear to my son and an international coalition of professional soldiers from around the world who've deployed to the war zone to help rescue civilians and defend Ukraine. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for helping keep our heroes safe in Ukraine. This is what the power of people connecting and helping one another looks like. Gotta love COMMUNITY!
We are all in this TOGETHER!
Bravery Foundation are supporting a mother and her two children to flee the war in Ukaine
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.
“Ivanka resists with fear everything that is offered to her because it is too scary,” said Typusiak.
“She is so extremely traumatized,” said Bonnie Penner, founder of the Bravery Foundation.
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.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or offers of donations or opportunities like jobs for temporarily displaced people.
JACQUELINE GELINEAU / Apr. 6, 2022 11:30 a.m. /NEWS
A good crowd showed up on Saturday for a ‘Kelowna Supports Ukraine’ mega yard sale.
The event featured all kinds of donated items on display, including an assortment of uniquely made Ukrainian-made items. A big thank you to Kelowna Stands with Ukraine for making this event happen!
Today I met many incredible Ukrainian women at the Yard Sale in Kelowna, BC sponsored by 'Kelowna Stands With Ukraine' and headed up by Greg Bertrim. These ladies each had amazing stories unique to them. It was cold outside with the biting wind, but no one seemed to mind because we all were there for a common cause, to help Ukraine in any way we can. Even though I had only met Vlasta, my heart hurt as she shared her stories. She listened intently too as I shared how my son is headed to Ukraine with a group of veteran professional soldiers under the direction of the Ukrainian army in a few days. The connection between us was palpable and tears flowed from both our eyes. Vlasta has been living in Canada for 10 years now. She's connected with a group in Kelowna called 'The Ukrainian Canadian Association'. She and another Ukrainian woman named Yulia were selling authentic Ukrainian heirlooms and crafts at their table to raise money for Ukraine.
Vlasta was so kind to sell me a pysanka (Ukrainian egg) to resell on The Bravery Foundation's ebay account. This egg has a lot of history behind it. In 2014 Vlasta's elderly parents protested in Kyiv Maidan, Nezalezhnosti central square against pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych’s stance on the Donbass. The pysanka was hand crafted in 2014 as a symbol of their protest. The emblem painted on the egg is called a Tryzub (trident), a coat of arms of Ukraine and is symbolic of Ukrainian independence. The Tryzub was banished from use for 70 years by the Soviet Union because the Soviets considered it too nationalistic. Since the days of the Ukrainian People's Republic, the Tryzub has become a symbol for those who fought for Ukraine's independence and now protect it. The egg is hand blown and hand painted. Vlasta also sold me several other valuable Ukrainian keepsake items.
As the Founder of The Bravery Foundation I support democratic freedom. My foundation is auctioning items on ebay to raise money so we can purchase body armour for the brave group of veterans from across the globe dedicated to fighting for the people of Ukraine. We also purchase and ship medical supplies to Ukraine as well as support Ukrainian refugees coming to Canada, in particular those headed to the Okanagan.
As a mother of one of the veterans (he served in the French Foreign Legion for 6 years) going to the frontlines in Ukraine, I'm here to help all of these brave men who are fighting to free Ukrainian civilians. While my son has all of the items he needs to safely go to Ukraine, the same cannot be said of the other brave men going to fight. Many do not have basic bullet proof vests, ear protection or ballistic helmets. Although they are elite ex-military men, they had to return all of their body armour to their respective military organizations when they completed their service with them. They are also paying for their own airline tickets and quitting their jobs to fight for freedom. I believe we all should help these heroes in any way we can!
Please donate to The Bravery Foundation today, 100% of all donations goes to support Ukraine.
We are all in this TOGETHER!
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He served six years in the French Foreign Legion, but he has never seen the type of conflict he’ll be heading into in Ukraine.
A man originally from Kelowna is part of a group of experienced soldiers from around the world, who are about to depart for the war zone. To protect his identity, Castanet is referring to the man as C.S. He and his colleagues will be embedded with a unit of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces. “They’re not super-well trained or anything because they’re just reservists, but most of us are very experienced combat veterans and whatnot," C.S. said. “So, we’re essentially forming the core of the unit and helping these people, giving them knowledge and assisting them on the field in battle. Giving them a better chance, essentially, by showing them how to do things better.”
According to C.S., the mission is not just to participate in the defence of Ukraine, but also to help evacuate trapped civilians. “There are civilians, who if they didn’t evacuate when the Russians showed up, they can’t now because the Russians won’t let them," he said.
"We’re going to try our best to get those people out of the conflict zone if we can.”
The soldier’s mother, Bonnie Penner, recently founded The Bravery Foundation to finance the operation and provide humanitarian aid. C.S. says most of those in his group have been able to scrape together enough money to pay for their own plane tickets and cover bills while they are away from home, but they are still short of some potentially life-saving equipment like thermal and night vision optics.
“We don’t really have the budget for that just because all of our budget is consumed by just getting over there as it stands. But with the fundraising she’s done it’s helping, definitely, make those key little purchases give back to us that much more of an edge — an ability to hopefully come back alive.”
Penner is thankful for the businesses that have stepped up, including Lakeside Pharmacy and Dick’s Pharmacy, which offered discounts on medical supplies, including hemostatic gauze. She said Kelowna Stands with Ukraine has also donated some body armour for the members of his group.
“A lot of the other guys don’t have a lot of stuff, some of them," she said. "Just wanting to make sure that we send everything that we can.”
Despite his experience with the French Foreign Legion in other conflict zones, C.S. acknowledged the situation in Ukraine is new to him. “When I was with the French Foreign Legion I deployed twice to Africa and once to South America. Those are conflict zones, there was shooting going on — but nothing on this scale," he said.
“The scale of war in Ukraine right now is something that hasn’t really been seen since the Second World War, maybe the Korean War. Two major world powers going at each other with tanks and aircraft.”
C.S. admitted it's a bit daunting, but he’s trying not to dwell on it too much as he prepares to depart for the war zone.
Cindy White - Castanet News - Mar 31, 2022 / 4:00 am
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