WHAT IS UKRAINIAN CANADIAN SOCIAL SERVICES (TORONTO)?
Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (Toronto) Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization serving the Ukrainian ethno-cultural community in the Greater Toronto Area over 60 years.
Guided by the needs of individuals and families of Ukrainian ethno-cultural back-ground in the community, who experience language and cultural barriers, we provide a range of social services and support programs.
OUR MISSION & VISION
To provide culturally sensitive programs and services to enhance
quality of life for the Ukrainian Canadian community.
To provide culturally and linguistically sensitive social support services, and social and recreational group programs, based on identified community needs.
To work together with other community service providers to maximize benefits to members of the community.
To encourage and promote volunteerism in the community.
Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (Toronto) has its roots in the Ukrainian Canadian Relief Fund, a volunteer organization that was established in 1945 to assist Ukrainian refugees arriving in Canada after World War II, as well as those still waiting to immigrate in Europe.
In October 1953, a General Meeting was held and the need for a Toronto Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Relief Fund was re-confirmed and the Branch's work was renewed. At that meeting a Social Service Committee was also charged with the task of developing general social services for the Ukrainian ethno-cultural community in Toronto, as the community need was becoming apparent.
Over the next decade, the Ukrainian Canadian Relief Fund was re-organized and became known as Ukrainian Canadian Welfare Services.
• Throughout the 1960's services expanded to include a Social Service Office and programming for seniors. Volunteers provided all services on a part-time basis.
• In 1968, the organization was incorporated by Letters Patent as Ukrainian Canadian Welfare Services Inc.
• On January 1, 1971, the organization was registered as a charity with Revenue Canada.
• In 1971, our current facility at 2445 Bloor Street West in Toronto was purchased.
• Further expansion of programs for seniors and youth in the 1970's, with services offered on a full-time basis. Increased fundraising activities and the receipt of government grants for programs.
• In 1981, approval as an Elderly Persons Centre was received from the Provincial Ministry of Community and Social Services.
• Provided immigrant settlement services and an Outreach-Day Care Program for seniors in the 1980's.
• Total building renovation was carried out in 1984-5.
• The organization's name was officially changed by Supplementary Letters Patent to Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (Toronto) Inc. in 1991.
• The 1990's saw the development of social and group programs for seniors and seminars for new immigrants.
• Programs offered in the late 1990's and into 2000 included: community outreach initiatives on woman abuse, family violence and elder abuse; and a seniors' support group program, and computer and Internet training for seniors.
• In 2001, support groups for abused women were offered for the first time in the Ukrainian ethno-cultural community in Toronto.
• In 2003, a Strategic Plan was developed based on a needs survey and a visioning process.
• Alzheimer's Disease information seminars took place in the community in 2004-5.
• Bilingual ads highlighting the organization's services and programs appeared on the Ukrainian TV programs “Kontakt” and “Svitohliad” in 2005.
• A website was created in 2006.
• On February 24, 2007, the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary with a Gala Jubilee Banquet. 300 guests attended including politicians and Ukrainian community leaders. A commemorative booklet as well as a DVD, reviewing over 50 years of community service, were produced.
• A pedestrian ramp and automatic door were installed at the front entrance in 2007, making the building more accessible for visitors with disabilities. The kitchen was renovated to the current professional standard.
• In 2008, among traditional fundraising events: a dinner/dance titled “An Evening of Humour with Ted Woloshyn” was held; and a community dining program called "Sharing Baba's Borscht" was offered. The dining program was sponsored by the federal government.
• In 2011, the first time we lauched our Beer tent in the parking lot reside the building. It was a great success.
• Yearly participation in the Ukrainian Bloor West Festival since 1990's.
• February 2008, UCSS-T hosts an “Evening of Humor” at the Trident Banquet Hall. Entertainment is provided by Michael Curry, Ted Woloshyn, and the Energy Latin Dancers.
• May 2008, an art exhibit is held in the UCSS-T building in co-operation with the Ukrainian Organization of Artists.
• April 2009, throughout the summer a recently arrived volunteer from Ukraine provides a free hair styling program for seniors in the UCSS-T.
• August 2009, UCSS-T circulates a Community Needs Survey to gather information on the most important issues in the Toronto’s Ukrainian-Canadian community, so that the organization can tailor its services to the needs expressed.
• September 2009, UCSS-T starts Sunflower Boutique, recognizing that there is no Ukrainian store on Bloor Street.
• October 2009, reacting to news of human trafficking in Eastern Europe and seniors’ abuse in Canada, UCSS-T initiates a helpline for abused individuals.
• April 2010, the first Ochrymowych Humanitarian Award Banquet is held, honoring journalist Victor Malarek for his ground breaking work highlighting the issue of human trafficking in Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine, in the international media. The proceeds are dedicated to supporting the UCSS-T Help Line.
• January – September 2011, two students are employed as interns in co-operation with Humber College and George Brown College.
• A new massage for senior program is started by an accredited volunteer masseur in the UCSS-T building. This program takes place during 2011.
• UCSS-T continues to offer a free income tax clinic for eligible individuals during Income Tax season.
• December 2011, UCSS-T volunteers begin a program of presenting Christmas concerts in each of the 3 seniors’ residences in Toronto.
• May 2012, during the second Ochrymowych Humanitarian Award Banquet Zenia Kushpeta and Erast Huculak receive the awards. Ms. Kushpeta for her seminal work with Dzherelo in Ukraine; and philanthropist Mr. Huculak for his support of Ukrainian youth in Canada and post-secondary educational institutions in Ukraine.
• July 2012, Executive Director, Victor Hetmanczuk retires. The Executive Committee of the Board takes over managing the organization until a new Executive Director is hired.
• March 2013, UCSS-T applies for and receives a one year Horizons for Seniors Grant from the Ontario Government for roof replacement.
• June 2014, Lidia Cymbaluk becomes the new Executive Director.
• July 2014, an agreement is signed with the Etobicoke Seniors Services (ESS) for ESS to offer a free of charge Seniors Exercise Program in the premises of UCSS-T for the broader Bloor West Village community
• September 2014, as a precursor to the Ukrainian Bloor West Festival, UCSS-T hosts Victor Malarek’s launch of his new book entitled Orphanage 41, with opening remarks by CTV news anchor, Sandi Rinaldo.
• September 2014, during the Bloor West Ukrainian Festival, UCSS-T holds its first Beer Garden in addition to its inside food services.
• May 2015, the third Ochrymowych Humanitarian Award Banquet honors the Right Reverend John Tataryn for his tireless work in building an infrastructure to care for seniors and elderly in Toronto’s Ukrainian-Canadian community.
• September 2015, the film Holodomor: Voices of Survival by Toronto filmmaker Ariadna Ochrymowych, is featured in the UCSS-T building the Friday of the Bloor West Ukrainian Festival, with introductory remarks by actor Luba Goy.
The programs and services of Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (Toronto) Inc. are directed by a 13-member volunteer Board of Directors, elected at the Annual General Meeting.
A small, professional staff provides direct service to clients, and administrative and volunteer support. The Executive Director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency.
Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (Toronto) Inc. is a branch of Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Inc. of Canada, a national coordinating body that unites 10 UCSS branches across Canada.
Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (Toronto) Inc. is also a member of the Toronto Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
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