Ukrainian American Youth Association members with counselors from Ukraine in front of the pizzeria in Chervonohrad, Ukraine, before the start of camp.

Ukrainian American Youth Association’s 2016 exchange program with Ukraine

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the resurrection of the Ukrainian Youth Association (UYA) in Augsburg, Germany. The Ukrainian Youth Association was originally established in Kyiv in 1925 as an underground organization whose goal was to achieve an independent Ukraine (at that time Ukraine was under Bolshevik and Polish rule). UYA was dismantled by the Bolsheviks after only five years of clandestine operations in Kharkiv. During World War II, many Ukrainians found themselves in Germany for a variety of reasons, and among them were members of UYA who were never found by the Bolsheviks. These members resurrected the Ukrainian Youth Association and created what is the present-day Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA) here in the United States.


Designer Anna Karenina to show during 2016 New York Fashion Week

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Fashion designer Anna Karenina (not her given name), a model-turned-designer from Kyiv, is a rising talent in the fashion industry and will be included at this year’s Fashion Week in New York. Born in Kremenchuk in 1995, she graduated from Kyiv State University of Technology and Design. Her modeling career began at age 14 and her fashion career at 16 with her own line of clothing, as described in a February 15 article on Her fashions have been shown for several seasons at the Mercedes-Benz Kyiv Fashion Days. In 2014 she was invited to show at Pitti Imagine in Florence, Italy.

In front of Lviv Regional Clinical Hospital (from left) are: Markian Bojko, Areta Bojko, Andrea Marushka, Solomiya Grushchak and Phil Kulas.

Millennials on a medical assistance mission

NEW YORK – Our Ukrainian society would not be sustainable without the influx of new community activists from the younger generations of Ukrainian Americans. In the past few months, six young adults, raised and educated in the United States, decided to make a personal commitment to apply their skills and interests to help victims of war and others in need of medical support in Ukraine. Their story is one of passion and patriotism, and how much a few individuals can achieve when working as a team. A grassroots project called Medical Aid for Ukraine was initiated this spring by Areta Bojko, 23, and Solomiya Grushchak, 22, when they decided to raise funds for medical assistance for war-wounded in Ukraine. Both Areta and Solomiya are pursuing careers in medicine, and were raised in the spirit of community service as Plast scouts.


Tyt i Tam releases latest CD recording, “Obriad” (Ritual)

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Saskatoon’s Tyt i Tam band’s latest CD, “Obriad” (Ritual), was released at the end of July and features a 12-track recording with reinterpreted Ukrainian folk-rock.  This is the band’s fourth studio album and does not have a typical “zabava band” sound. Founded in 2002, band members include Matt Gruza on accordion; Carissa Klopoushak on violin, vocals, guitar, sopilka, tylynka and lira; Mark Klopoushak on drums, vocals, percussion and violin; Steve Kodak on bass, vocals and percussion; and Clint Moroziuk on guitar and vocals. Tyt i Tam performs a unique and progressive style of Ukrainian folk music. Each member has an extensive background in many varied styles of music, which when fused together creates Тут і Там’s signature sound. As stated on the band’s Facebook page: “Тут і Там’s creative arrangements and sincere musicality transcend the studio and contribute to their dynamic live shows.”

Selections from Obriad include favorites such as “Vesnianka,” “Arkan” and “Nese Halya Vodu,” but also re-imagined classics like “Sumnyi Sviatyi Vechir”  (which dates from the second world war) that describes the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.

Marko Topchii receives the first-place award at the International Gredos San Diego Classical Guitar Competition in Madrid.

Mark Topchii of Kyiv wins classical guitar competition in Madrid

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Classical guitarist Marko Topchii, 24, won the International Gredos San Diego Classical Guitar Competition on May 14 in Madrid. The competition featured three categories – firm program, free program and guitar concerto. Masataka Suganuma of Japan won second place, and Younho Kim of South Korea won third place. Mr. Topchii has now won his 25th international competition. Having competed since he was 11, Mr. Topchii performed on May 24 with the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Ratheim, Germany, and on April 30 he performed in New York at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as part of the D’Addario Performance Series concerts.

Queen Mathilde of Belgium congratulates Oleksii Semenenko on his second-place finish at the Queen Elizabeth Competition for violin.

Violinist from Ukraine finishes second at Belgian competition

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Violinists from Ukraine, Oleksii Semenenko and Vladyslava Luchenko, finished as second-prize winner (Belgian Federal Government Prize valued at 20,000 euros) and semifinalist, respectively, at the Queen Elizabeth Competitions in Brussels that were held on May 4-30. The competition featured concerto and recital performances by 62 candidates – 34 women and 28 men – from 19 different countries. Mr. Semenenko trained in Ukraine, and continued studies at the Hochschule fur Musik in Cologne, Germany, under Zakhar Bron and Harald Schoneweg. He plays a Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi (1770) violin, on loan from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben. In 2010 he won third laureate at the Paganini Moscow International Competition, in 2012 he won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York, and earlier this year he won the International Boris Goldstein Competition in Berne, Switzerland.

Ashley Halko-Addley and Angelina Smolynec make new contacts at the networking event during the SUSK Congress.

Montreal hosts SUSK Congress, with focus on technology, community

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The 2015 National Ukrainian Canadian Students’ Union (SUSK) Congress was held May 7-10 at McGill University in Montreal. During the congress, delegates heard a presentation by Eugene Czolij, president of the Ukrainian World Congress, about a student’s role in the community. Mr. Czolij also answered questions from the delegates. The Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation was a major supporter of the event, as was the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Montreal branch, and the Ukrainian National Federation – Montreal branch. The new board members include: Cassian Soltykevych, president; Anastasia Hnatyuk, vice-president finance; Borys Bilaniuk, vice-president East; Alex Prokopchuk, vice-president Central; Andrea Dacko, vice-president West; Anton Waschuk, internal relations director; Dayra Naumova, external relations director; Inga Bekbudova, media director; Connor Moen, project director; and Christine Czoli, past president of SUSK.

Pavlo’s Taste of Ukraine food truck with Ukrainian-themed artwork.

Denver food truck offers “taste of Ukraine”

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – On March 9, KDVR Fox 31 in Denver profiled Pavlo Makolondra’s food truck, Pavlo’s Taste of Ukraine during its “everyday Colorado” segment. Mr. Makolondra, 35, explained to The Weekly that the Ukrainian community in Denver was small when he was growing up, consisting mostly of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. after the second world war. With 21 years of experience in the hospitality industry, having worked just about every job in the hotels and restaurants, in 2010 Mr. Makolondra attended

the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis. After graduating he worked in Minneapolis as a sous chef under chef Andy Woodcock – whom he credits with mentoring and motivation. He returned to Denver in 2014 to start Pavlo’s Taste of Ukraine – basing his selections on guidance from his Ukrainian-born grandmother, Maria.

Actor-turned-financial guru publishes first book on finance

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Millennial expert, actress, author and entrepreneur Stefanie O’Connell published her first book in January. “The Broke and Beautiful Life” is based on her blog of the same name, which chronicles her experience as a struggling actor who needed to supplement her income with “survival jobs.”

In speaking with The Weekly via e-mail, Ms. O’Connell stated:

“I wrote ‘The Broke and Beautiful Life’ to share my perspective as a young person going through the unique challenges of establishing financial independence at a time where financial realities are grim. There’s a lot of personal finance advice out there, but not a whole lot of financial literacy, and I think it’s because people have trouble connecting to numbers and stats. Instead of just throwing out information, I try to tell stories, stories that will resonate with people and prompt them to make meaningful changes in their financial behavior for the better.”

“Everyone has their own challenges – student loan debt is a big one for Millennials while insufficient retirement savings is a huge stress for Baby Boomers. For me, the challenge has been navigating the realities of low income while managing big city living costs.

Taissa Farmiga builds acting career with upcoming projects

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Actor Taissa Farmiga, 20, was featured in three projects – “Share,” a short directed by Pippa Bianco; “Six Years,” a relationship drama shot in 2014 at the South-by-Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival; and “The Final Girls,” a horror comedy with Malin Akerman, Nina Dobrev and Alia Shawkat – that premiered at the South-by-Southwest festival held on March 13-22 in Austin, Texas. Taissa’s acting debut was during her sister, Vera Farmiga’s, directorial debut, “Higher Ground” (2011). While promoting the film during the Sundance film festival, it was then that the younger Farmiga had realized that she had caught the acting bug. Taissa was briefly cast in the “American Horror Story” series on FX as teen witch Zoe Benson. And she hints that she may make a re-appearance on the show.