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Yvan Baker’s Levee: All about volunteers and community activists

Feb 8, 2023 | News, Life, Community, Canada, Featured

Yvan Bakers gives awards to the Dopomoha Team

Mykola Swarnyk
for NP-UN

During this year’s Levee, Yvan Baker, MP for Etobicoke Centre, presented his Annual Community Recognition Awards, which recognize volunteers and professionals who have made significant contributions of their time and talent for the benefit of the local community.

The recipients of the Community Recognition Awards have been selected by a community-based selection committee who themselves have a wealth of volunteer experience.

Yvan Baker launched the ceremony with the story of his grandmother Olena, who came to Canada after the 2nd World War. She, like many others, went through tremendous hardships to come to Canada and faced great challenges after she got here, as so many people have too – to establish themselves, to provide for the family. Yvan’s grandmother told him the story, how she received her Canadian citizenship.

Back then, she said, people got their citizenship at the Court House on University Avenue in Toronto. When the judge pounded his gavel and declared everybody citizens, most people in the room started to cry. Yvan asked his grandma (that was a few years ago): why did you cry? She said: I cried because I was relieved, and also very proud. And I was prouder and prouder in the years that followed, because for me Canada got better year after year.

Yvan told this story at Centennial Park in 2014 at the citizenship ceremony, and a young woman came up to him (she just got her citizenship), she looked at him and said: I really like that story about your grandmother. Thank you, – Yvan replied, – and what part of the story did you like? “I liked the part that Canada gets better and better year after year,” she said.

“I think, if my grandmother would be here today, she would say it is not because of the politicians, that Canada is getting better year after year, but because of all of the people who work, who donate and who give others that support that they need,” said Baker. And that`s what Yvan Baker’s New Year’s levee celebrated: the incredible people who are making the difference in the Etobicoke Centre community and in Canada as a whole.

Yvan Bakers presents an award to the Holodomor Survivor Mykola Latyshko Photos: Mykola Swarnyk

Yvan Baker handed the certificates of recognition to the recipients in five categories:
• Outstanding Volunteer Service to the Community (55 people)
• Outstanding Volunteer Service to Seniors (6 people)
• Outstanding Volunteer Service to the Community by Youth (13 people)
• Outstanding Service by Employees or Professional Staff (6 people)
• Covid Heroes (3 people)

Each of the recipients received comments from van Baker – sometimes serious, sometimes with the pinch of humor, but always full of generous and encouraging, heartfelt words.

The big concert hall of the Plast Huculak Centre in Etobicoke was full of people, the atmosphere was friendly and the applause was pretty loud.

Yvan Bakers gives awards to the Ukrainian Canadian Parachute team

Among the awarded activists, there were many Ukrainians:
Lucy Dyczkowsky,
Mykola Latyshko
Luba Slavatynska
Roman Konopud
Janice Taskey
Olga Krawec
Barbara Nawrocki
Ukrainian Canadian Parachute:
• Luba Tarapacky
• Dianne Witiuk
• Natalie Latyshko
• Beverly Firchuk
• Lydia Bojeczko
• Samantha Bojeczko
• Ana Gomez
• Irene Volinets
The Dopomoha Team:
• Karen Yarmol Franko
• Sonia Kondrat
• Nadia Prokopiw
• Natalia Semotiuk
Plast Ukrainian Youth Association of Ontario Toronto Branch:
• Danylo Darewych
• Andrea Figol
• Myron Peniak
• Christine Zeltway
Ukrainian Youth Organization (CYM) – Etobicoke Chapter
• Luka Figol
• Justin Booth
• Lina Dankowycz
• Melania Schturyn
• Maksym Syagrovskyy

This article is written under the
Local Journalism Initiative agreement

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