Calgary, Alberta – From August 2nd – 19th, 93 Ukrainian evacuee children from grades 4-11 attend the ‘Ready to Study’ summer school day camp at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church and Ukrainian Youth Centre in Calgary’s Bridgeland area.
The camp has been organized by Anastasiia Stepanchuk, a PhD candidate in Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Calgary, who came from Ukraine five years ago. More than 30 Calgary schoolboard teachers and volunteers have donated time to ensure these newcomer kids review basic concepts of English, math, social studies, and science, in both Ukrainian and English, before the start of the school year and to help in their transition to Canadian society.
The idea of a bilingual school bootcamp came to Anastasiia when her school-age brothers and mother arrived in Calgary after fleeing the war in Ukraine. She recognized the need for adults (mostly mothers or grandparents) and kids to connect with others living through the same trauma, and wanted to create a safe and welcoming environment, where isolation and language barriers are addressed. Despite months of planning and hard work, Anastasiia says: “The children’s smiles and parents’ gratitude have made it all worthwhile.”
The camp was made possible through the generous financial and goods in-kind support of volunteer community organizations and both national and local businesses including the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Sobeys Community Action Fund, Destination Art, Sentry Box, and Save-on-Foods.
The Calgary Ukrainian Evacuee Welcome Committee (UCC-AB) was formed in February 2022 to engage with Calgary settlement agencies, cultural and volunteer organizations in collaborative efforts to support Ukrainian evacuees arriving in the Calgary region. The Committee has created an eight-pillar strategy to aid with the successful transition of Ukrainian evacuees into Calgary and the surrounding communities.