The Gleaner
Letters to the editorOpinions

With appreciation to the Chateauguay Valley

The informal organization Chateauguay Valley for Ukraine (CVU) has a mission to accompany and support displaced Ukrainians as a result of the ongoing war in their country. The focus of the group over the last three years has shifted from a “point of entry” position to development and integration of the Ukrainian families who have chosen to establish themselves in our region.

The evolution of the social media group CVU has been thoughtful and progressive. To date we have raised over $50,000. Ninety percent of these funds has provided airfare from Ukraine for 40 individuals – a commendable achievement for a small region. Almost all of the Ukrainians who came to the Valley had been living in large cities. For some, adjusting to rural life presents many challenges.

Many were welcomed into host families’ homes as simply a first stop for some much-needed rest, before moving on to areas in the rest of Canada where their countrymen or other family and friends had settled. We are fortunate that 12 people representing four families have chosen to pursue the next steps for permanent residency here in our area.

The daunting tasks of stabilizing a young family, learning two new languages, and finding their place have been made bearable by the willingness of our community to welcome and support them. The ongoing financial support of these families represents supplementing expenses such as childcare, medical expenses, French education, wage supplements, and unforeseen living expenses.

This testimonial from the Markovych family was received this year: “We are very grateful to the good people and your organization for giving us the opportunity to move to Canada and start a new and safe life here. You did not buy us airplane tickets, you gave us tickets to a life without war, you gave us security, you gave us confidence and meaning in the future. Now we have met many good friends, our son is studying at school. We are trying to live a normal life. We are very grateful to all these people who donated money, worked and helped people like us. You are real saviors of destinies.”

The Chateauguay Valley for Ukraine group appreciates the commitment of the Georgetown Presbyterian Church for the reception and accountability of the funds that were donated for our purpose. This enabled a committee of four to work on plans to identify where the funds would be best and fairly distributed. The committee also established base documents that identify the steps that offer a template for anyone who might be interested in taking on a project of this nature.

CVU is proud of the resilience and acceptance of the Ukrainian people we have come to know so well. They are moving forward on their next challenges with a positive outlook and hope for the future.

For this reason, the complete dispersal of the balance of these funds will be allocated among the remaining four families in our region. As we move forward, our hope is that we will build on the relationships that have been started. We look forward to their growth in our country and encourage them with positive energy.

The Facebook page of the CVU will remain in place. If anyone needs this resource for information or questions, they can refer to the documents and information sharing that are visible as resource material there.
With appreciation to our fellow Chateauguay Valley families,
Stephanie Maynard, Nancy Saunders, Amy Tolhurst, Debbie Purdy.

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