Thursday, December 23, 2010

Have we got a scholarship for the dancers, sports stars, actors, singers in the community!

UCU wants to give you $2, 500 to pursue your career in Sports & Recreation or Performing Arts!

This year UCU is offering a brand new scholarship in Memory of Michael Rebryk for students showing community involvement and studying in the fields of either sports & recreation OR performing arts. 

Mr. Rebryk had a passion for sports and love for singing, and therefore this scholarship was created in memory of the dedicated service he provided to the UCU.

If you share this passion & are building a career on it, let us help you with the pay-offs.

Scholarship Deadline: February 28, 2011
                                     To view all the scholarships UCU has to offer click here

Friday, December 17, 2010

Things you didn't know about UCU employees...

Spot light on:

Maria Mitea
Maria Mitea at the office
Like many of our co-workers, Maria Mitea, Member Service Representative at our Thunder Bay branch hails from Eastern Europe. Uniquely among our staff, she was born in Moldova, which, for those who are not terribly familiar with the geography of that part of the world is tucked in between southern Ukraine and Romania.
Maria comes from a large family and has five sisters and four brothers. Family is a source of happiness for Maria, “my family makes me feel strong and never alone in this big world,” she says. As was the custom of the former Soviet Union, her mother and father were awarded golden medals titled “Hero Mother of Ten Children” and “Hero of Labour” respectively, for having such a large family.
Maria’s parents put a high value on education and were able to see all of their children attend institutes of higher learning. Maria herself has a degree from the Pedagogical University of Moldova and a second degree in Engineering and Production System Management from the University of Transylvania in Romania.
While in Romania, Maria worked as a translator for a company in the diamond industry. It was a “cool job” as Maria puts it, “I had diamonds in my pockets all the time!”
Among her other interests, Maria has been practicing yoga for many years and plans to eventually visit the Yoga Institute in Pune, India and perhaps obtain a teaching certificate from this institute. She also enjoys rock climbing, a sport that she discovered through the Canada Alpine Climbing Club in Thunder Bay. She says that membership in the club has allowed her to see Canada from a new and exciting perspective. This winter she plans to try ice climbing with the club.
As a child, Maria used to dream of becoming an opera singer. Now she sings selections from La Traviata to her children. Who knows, maybe one of them will one day sing on the world’s opera stages? Maria also likes cooking and gardening. She considers her garden to be a “little paradise,” and is willing to trade gardening tips (or plants) with other avid horticulturalists. Her current project is growing hardy roses that can survive the northern climate of Thunder Bay.

To read about other UCU employees that have been featured in a Spot Light please visit this page: Spot Light On...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nativity Story

UCU's own Kathy Matkowskyj is playing a major role in bringing the Nativity Story to life this December. Kathy is the producer for the Ensemble Svitlo's "Nativity Story" which she adapted into a Ukrainian language version. Kathy wears many hats for this event. She is the main fund-raiser, casting director, roadie and creative mind behind the pageant.

Her hard work is paid off in the satisfaction of knowing that she was able to give the audience a fulfilling and spiritual experience. The troupe will be performing in Ukrainian at the Runnymede United Church at 432 Runnymede Road at 4pm and 7pm, on December 18.

Admission is $20.00 for adults and free for children. Tickets can be purchased at our So-Use Division Bloor branch (2265 Bloor St. W) or at the door.

For additional information please call 416-294-7853.

You can get a taste of what to expect by watching this video on YouTube: The Nativity Story.

To read about other UCU support for and involvement in the arts, click here: UCU and the Arts

Friday, December 3, 2010

Historical Vignettes: Thunder Bay Branch

The Thunder Bay Branch of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was founded in 1994. UCU recognized a strong and active Ukrainian community in Thunder Bay that no longer had a local credit union servicing its needs and saw an opportunity to fill the void.

The member service area in the Thunder Bay branch

UCU is very active in the Ukrainian community in Thunder Bay. The branch staff take part in the community in the form of volunteering at various events. UCU has also provided financial support for many organizations, associations and groups in the Ukrainian community including churches, dance groups, schools, and Prosvita. UCU has also extended support to other local organizations in the wider community in Thunder Bay.

The original UCU branch in Thunder Bay operated from 1994-95, but due to the small initial membership base, the branch was closed. For the next three years, as UCU worked diligently to build relationships with local residents and Ukrainian organizations, existing members were serviced via U-Touch telephone banking and Interac. 

Branch staff from left to right: Maria Mitea,
Danuta Sterniczuk and Oksana Harapyuk.

By 1998, UCU felt that the membership base was large enough to justify re-opening a branch. At first, the new branch operated out of a temporary location leased from Superior Credit Union. In February 1999, UCU purchased the beautiful building at 303 East Victoria Ave. that formerly belonged to Ukrainian Ft. William Credit Union. The Grand Opening of this branch was held on May 15, 1999.

303 Victoria Ave. – branch location from 1999-2008

New branch at the Port Arthur Prosvita

In 2008, UCU decided on another relocation. As in many other Ukrainian communities around Ontario, the centre of Ukrainian life gradually shifted to other parts of town. Using feedback from the membership, UCU decided that locating the branch at the Port Arthur Prosvita would provide the most convenient access to the greatest number of members.

UCU members at the 2004 - Annual Branch Conference, which was also
used as an occasion to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of UCU.
Over 150 members were in attendance.

Holodomor Food Drive Update

We have wrapped up another successful food drive in commemoration of the Holodomor Famine-Genocide of 1932-33 in Ukraine. Our lobby is now filled with boxes of donations from our members in the Toronto area branches and waiting to be delivered to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Branches outside Toronto held food drives in support of food banks in their home towns.

Article that recently appeared in
"Korespondent" about Holodomor
commemorations at our Etobicoke Branch

A special thanks goes out to the members and staff at St. Demetrius branch who donated the largest (by far) amount of canned and other non-perishable food items. Special thanks goes out to their creativity in suppling all sorts of fun extras like cookies, cereals and other goodies that will serve to make some family's day a bit brighter.

Also, our Etobicoke branch appeared in an article published in the Polish language newspaper "Korespondent". The article talks about the the Holodomor and mentions the commemorative display that our staff put up at the East Mall. A photo copy of the article appears to the left.

Also worth mentioning is that our membership in St. Catharines went above and beyond the call of duty in terms of the number of postcards that they signed to send to President Yanukovych calling on him to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide.

We thank everyone who participated for their generousity. You have made a difference in someone's life.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holodomor Appeal

As a follow up to the Holodomor memorial food drive that we held in in our branches, Ukrainian Credit Union Limited calls on our members and supporters to reach out to Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych and implore him to do the right thing by officially recognizing the Holodomor as a genocide.

You can do this by either picking up a post card at one of our branches (pictured below) and mailing it with your signature to the Ukrainian Embassy in Canada, or you can visit the Ukrainian World Congress website to sign an online petition.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Upcoming Events - December

Event flyer
Ukrainian Credit Union Limited is proud to sponsor the Ukrainian Art Song Project in its world premiere and CD launch of Mykola Lysenko: The Art Songs. To learn about The Ukrainian Art Song Project, please visit their website

Also connected to the Lysenko premiere is an event for children at the ROM. Titled "Rizdvo: A Christmas Celebration", this event gives children a full day of Ukrainian heritage celebration. Activities include live music, dance performances, hands-on activities, scavenger hunt and more. See the attached flyer for more details or visit the ROM website

To read about other UCU support for and involvement in the arts, click here: UCU and the Arts

Friday, November 19, 2010

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas... here in Windsor!

This Thursday, UCU Windsor branch thought they would kick off the holiday season with their Christmas dinner at Perbacco Italian Restaurant, on Ottawa Street.  Alison Conroy, Operations Manager happened to be in the neighborhood to present Mira Oryshchyn with a gift for her 10 years of exceptional service with Ukrainian Credit Union Limited.

Congratulations Mira!
(Alison Conroy & Mira Oryshchyn) 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holodomor Memorial Food Drive

Please donate non-perishable items such as pasta, rice, peanut butter, jam and canned goods like beans, tuna and soup at Ukrainian Credit Union Branches throughout November.

About the Holodomor - the famine-genocide of Ukraine, 1932-1933
In the spring of 1933, the rural population of Ukraine, its peasants, were dying at a rate of 25,000 a day, half of them children. The land that was known worldwide as the breadbasket of Europe was being ravaged by a man-made famine of unprecedented scale. It was engineered by Stalin and his hangmen, to teach Ukraine’s independent farmers  “a lesson they would not forget” for resisting collectivization, which meant giving up their land and livestock to the state. (Ukraine was then under Soviet domination).  Moreover, it was meant to deal “a crushing blow” to any national aspirations of the Ukrainian people, 80 percent of whom were peasant farmers.

In less than 18 months, this famine genocide took millions of lives of innocent men, women and children in Ukraine and in the mostly ethnically Ukrainian areas of the northern Caucasus.

Today, almost 70 jurisdictions have recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide, including the Parliament of Canada and the Provincial Parliament of Ontario. Notwithstanding, Ukraine’s new President, Viktor Yanukovich, in order to mollify the reactionary Russian regime’s feelings, has audaciously adopted a revisionist position that the famine was not a genocide.  In so doing he besmirches the memory of the famine victims and breaches the laws of Ukraine. Members are invited to send the UCC postcard to President Yanukovich, provided in-branch, appealing to him to do the right thing and not be a genocide-denier.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things you didn't know about UCU employees...

Spot light on:

Inessa Kovalenko

Inessa attending at
Training Day 2010
Did you know that Inessa Kovalenko, Admin Support at HQ, used to work at the Rivne Atomic Energy Station in Kuznetsovsk in Rivne oblast? Don’t worry, she’s not radioactive! She worked at the head office there as an administrative staffer. One of the big projects she worked on was converting hundreds of text file documents containing job descriptions of managerial and other key staff from an old program called Norton Commander (remember when everyone and his brother was in the word-processing business) to Word documents.

Rivne AES. You almost want to vacation there,
it looks so idyllic
She was also involved in staff training. She created training packages and training presentations for staff (something she still does occasionally for UCU!). One of the projects she remembers fondly was helping to put together a conference for 5 other power stations that were interested in learning about the training initiatives for reactor and turbine engineers that Rivne AES was undertaking.

Inessa has been working with UCU for 6 years now. It all started when she dropped off a resume at our North York branch. Sadly, we didn’t have a spot for her then. However, Inessa persisted (see it pays to be persistent). When, shortly afterwards, she needed to find a co-op placement for a finance course she was taking, she applied again. This time she got the job. What was originally a 3 month co-op placement has turned into 6 years at UCU.

Now for those who were kind enough to read to the end of this article, here is a bonus fact about Inessa, she also makes some wonderful hand-made clothing – “Beautiful” in the words of Marie Stamler, Senior Executive Assistant at UCU. In Ukraine she used to make them for her friends, but here we keep her so busy that she only has time to make clothing for herself (as I was writing this article, Inessa came by to show off a wonderful leather and suede coat that she made for herself – look out Stella McCartney!)

Don't forget to click on the Spot Light On... tab just under the blog banner if you want to read about other UCU employees.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Training Day 2010!

On November 11, 2010, the entire staff of UCU met for Training Day. This year was special in that it was the first time that our new employees from the So-Use division got to meet everybody. Taras Pidzamecky kicked off the event with a nice ice breaker where everyone had to pair up with someone they didn't know and learn a few things about them. Then we all had to relate this info to the whole assembly.
More or less everyone.
Zenon Chwaluk cracks 'em up!
Natalia Chervonyi at the Credit
break-out session

Staff listening to a presentation on the Acumen banking system

Oleksiy Sleypukhov

Roman Litwinchuk

Olena Pyankova, Olya Marek, Kumud Rudra

Liliya Boyko and Maria Binczarowski

Margaryta Kulyk

Fred Petruk & Mike Kryworuchko

Maria Babiak, Natalia Kolomyitchouk

This is just a taste of the photos from the day. The rest will be posted to our Facebook page over the weekend. Facebook link - you probably will have to log into Facebook for this link to work. If it doesn't, then just search for "Ukrainian Credit Union Limited" after you have logged into Facebook.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

UCU's “ParticipACTION” at UCC's XXIII Triennial Congress.

I would like to share with you a communiqué from the XXIII Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians that was recently held in Edmonton.  The delegates from Ukrainian Credit Union Limited; namely; Eugene Roman, Taras Pidzamecky, Walter Kish, Fred Petruk, Marie Stamler and Kristin Glover attended the four day event in various capacities.

Eugene Roman provided valuable insights and launched a mini-campaign that netted $150,000 for the “President’s Club” of UCC.  He was also elected as the Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) representative to the Board of the Ukrainian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko.

G. Daniel Caron, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine,
 Paul Grod, National President of Ukrainian Canadian Congress,
Walter Kish, (UCU Director) recipient of the Shevchenko Medal,
Daria Luciw, Second Vice President
of  Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Walter Kish received the Ukrainian Canadian Congress award “The Shevchenko Medal” in recognition of his dedicated community activism, and his contributions as a journalist.  The Shevchenko Medal recognized individuals for outstanding national contribution towards the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community.  Walter has been a leader in the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada, the Canada Ukraine Foundation and the New Pathway newspaper.  He was the Ukrainian National Federation representative to the Canada Ukraine Foundation.

Taras Pidzamecky represented the Ukrainian National Federation in the official photo at the Ukrainian Pioneer Memorial outside the Alberta Legislature, was one of four delegates invited as a guest of the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature and was introduced in the Legislature.  He spearheaded the drafting of  a resolution on engaging the rest of the 1.2 million Ukrainian Canadians who are not involved in community life. Taras also attended numerous meetings with one of them being with Federal Sports Minister the Honourable Gary Lunn and Senator Raynell Andrechuk.
Kristin Glover, of UCU, with members of the
National Youth Advisory Committee.

There were various interesting workshops to name a few such as:  My Baba Was Ukrainian…Isn’t that Enough?  My Holuptsi Taste Better than your Cabbage Rolls! Can You Hear Us?   Government Relations , Holodomor Education: Triumphs & Challenges, Odnoholosno – Tell Me What You Think?  and the Young & Able – Youth Discussion Forum with the Moderator being: Kristin Glover.

The delegates also attended the Council of Ukrainian Credit Union’s Annual Meeting where Jerry Pryshlak was elected to the Supervisory Committee and Marie Stamler to the Verification Committee for the meeting.  The three other members of the CUCUC Board are George Wodoslawsky, Secretary, Fred Petruk, member of Supervisory Committee and Eugene Yakovitch, Board member.

Ukrainian Credit Union was the proud silver sponsor of the congress. Our name and logo along with the Congress emblem was  imprinted on the carry cases that were handed out to over 300 delegates.

For further information please  check out the website for events, news and photos at:

Marie Stamler

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ukrainian Credit Unions hard at Work!

The Council of Ukrainian Credit Unions in Canada (CUCUC) held its annual meeting in Edmonton, Alberta, November 4th, 2010. CUCUC represents seven Ukrainian credit unions across Canada.


Olya Sheweli, President of CUCUC presenting Bohdan Kozy
and Iryna Drahomyretska awards for their outstanding
work with the credit union movement in Ukraine. 
Jerry Pryshlak will also be joining our other UCU representatives that serve the CUCUC. He has been newly elected to their Supervisory committee

All together now!

All of UCU's branch managers and corporate managers are meeting in Toronto right now to plan out all the great things that we will be doing in the coming year. This is the first time that the management of our new So-Use branches are attending this annual session.

Around the main table. Looking into the camera at center is Angela Andlar (Sudbury). Others in the picture (from left): Marc Sirard, General Manager So-Use Division, Taras Pidzamecky, CEO, Lana Maksimishin, (Bloor), Maria Ciesielski (Bloor), Lida Hawryliuk (Oshawa), Roman Mlynko (Wealth Management Group), Tatiana Koroliova (North York), Luba Kapeluch (St. Demetrius) 

Mike Kryworuchko (Windsor)
Natalia Chevonyi (London) and Irena Dlugosz (Etobicoke)

Vlad Karman (Mississauga)

Luba Kapeluch (St. Demetrius) and
Oksana Harapyuk (Thunder Bay)

Marc Sirard (GM So-Use Division) and
Lydia Cymbaluk (Bloor)

Maria Ciesielski (Bloor) and
Lana Maksimishin (Bloor)
Lida Hawryluk (Oshawa)

Yuriy Nesvit (St. Catharines)

Tatitana Koroliova (North York)

Roman Mlynko (Wealth Management Group)

Best car in Sudbury?

One of our newest branch managers, Angela Andlar in Sudbury, lets her town know there is a new "banker" in town! How's that for team spirit?

A close up of the rear window