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.