NP-UN Western Bureau.
Long-time Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada (UWO) Edmonton Branch activist Slava Yopyk was presented with the “Берегиня Українського Народу” (Defender of the Ukrainian People) Award during the “Embroidery in Ukrainians’ Life” exhibit in Edmonton, April 14.
Yopyk was one of two UWO members who were honoured with this award, presented by the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO), during its 70th Anniversary Celebrations in Toronto March 24.
The other was Toronto member Anne Fedun. Since Yopyk was unable to attend the anniversary banquet in Toronto, her award was brought to Edmonton by UWO National President Patti Latyshko.
“I accept this award in the name of all our (UWO) members. It is not only I that deserve it, but all the women for whom it is so important to defend our culture, our language and the development of our culture for the future,” she told New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
Yopyk has performed volunteer activities throughout her life. She currently devotes her time to various community organizations in the Edmonton region. Her volunteer accomplishments made and continue to make a significant difference to the lives of many in the community.
Slava was and continues to be a very active member within the Ukrainian community in Edmonton. She continues to promote culture and educational programs throughout the community. Her leadership is in full evidence; the organization is a phenomenal success with a growing membership. She saw a need and set forth to lead the organization into the 21st century and in doing so has enriched the community and the Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada – Edmonton Branch as President from 1990 to 1991 and from 2013 to 2017.
We often coin the phrase “youth of today are our future, our leaders in the future” and Yopyk’s work as one of the founding members of the Ukrainian Children’s Studio Theatre “Dzherelo” has inspired the future, the new generation; they will have the knowledge to go forward and continue with the work started before them ensuring the continuation of Ukrainian traditions and language.
On a professional level, Yopyk has attained her nursing and sonographer degree and has been employed as a diagnostic medical sonographer for over 24 years.
Fedun was born to immigrant parents and raised in Toronto. Her introduction to volunteering came when she became a Ukrainian National Youth Federation (UNYF) member, an affiliate of UNF at the age of 14. Her time was given helping younger children in the Ukrainian dance and singing program of the UNF Toronto. She then married and started her family, as did many of her friends from UNYF.
By 1958, she returned to the organization and joined the UWO Toronto Branch. Under the tutelage of both Past Presidents, Pani Zayats and Pani Prociw, she was brought into the Toronto Branch Executive’s Cultural Committee in 1962. She has remained on the OYK Toronto Branch Executive since 1962 taking on positions as Vice President, Recording Secretary, Executive Member, Audit, Visitation and Anniversary Committees. She currently holds the position of Treasurer.
In 1965 St. John the Baptist Chapel was built at UNF Camp Sokil, Hawkestone, Ontario. Fedun assisted Ada Didulka with Chapel duties from 1966 until she took over in 1988. Fedun remains as the custodian of the Chapel on behalf of UWO-Toronto.
In 2010 she was recognized by Ontario Volunteer Service Award with her 50-year service pin. For the past 10 years Fedun has been a valued member of, and continues to serve on the UWO National Executive.