September 25, 2015

The UNA’s commitment to youth


This week’s issue features the Ukrainian National Association’s student members who received scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year. This year, there are 56 students who received scholarship funds from the UNA – four of them recipients of special scholarships established by individuals or entities who care deeply about the future of our Ukrainian American community. We salute these students and wish them much success in their studies, and we salute the UNA, as well as donors who support this worthwhile program.

Since the formal establishment of the UNA Scholarship Program, this fraternal organization has awarded over $2 million to deserving students. (For information about UNA scholarships and other benefits of membership, we direct readers to The scholarships are a noteworthy benefit of UNA membership and a concrete example of the UNA’s commitment to our younger generations, but they are far from the only example of the UNA’s concern about our youth – a concern that goes back to the organization’s founding in 1894.

The UNA has always supported educational, cultural and athletic activities for our youth. Today, there are many camps for children and teens at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center, which is owned by the UNA’s Ukrainian National Foundation. What is noteworthy about them is that they are inclusive – you don’t have to know the Ukrainian language to participate and benefit from these camps. UNA branches continue the time-honored tradition of sponsoring local sports teams or sports events. And, of course, the UNA has always supported the work of our Ukrainian youth and scouting organizations, as well as all sorts of activities in which today’s young people are involved, whether that be Ukrainian folk-dancing or educational programs.

In fact, this newspaper, which you are holding in your hands or reading online, was founded by the UNA to keep young people engaged in our Ukrainian community life and to cater to the needs of a new generation of Ukrainian Americans – a generation whose members perhaps were not fluent in Ukrainian and therefore could not relate to the Ukrainian-language newspaper Svoboda. The premiere issue of the Ukrainian Weekly (then written with a lowercase “t” in “the”) dated October 6, 1933, noted: “With this number we begin the publication of a regular weekly supplement to the Svoboda, to be known as the Ukrainian Weekly and to be devoted exclusively to the benefit of the American-Ukrainian youth. The Ukrainian National Association has undertaken to bear the extra cost of this publication, in order to give our youth the opportunity of having an exclusive organ of its own; written in its own style and language; wherein it can meet, exchange its thoughts and ideas, come to a better understanding of each other, and perhaps point out those paths of endeavor which shall lead to a newer and better life. The Ukrainian Weekly is for the youth. The youth alone shall be its master.” (Since then, of course, The Weekly has matured, is no longer a supplement to Svoboda and has become a newspaper for all generations.)

Many of these endeavors that benefit our youth exist under the aegis of the aforementioned Ukrainian National Foundation, the UNA’s charitable arm and a registered 501 (c) (3) corporation. Established in 1992, the UNF continues the UNA’s tradition of promoting educational, cultural and humanitarian causes for the benefit of the Ukrainian community in the United States, Canada and Ukraine.

We encourage those who would like to support the UNA’s commitment to our youth to donate to the Ukrainian National Foundation and indicate which of the UNF’s projects they would like to support, such as the Scholarship Fund, the Soyuzivka Fund and/or the Press Fund, or by simply supporting the UNF’s general fund. All donations are tax-deductible.

(Donations may be sent to: Ukrainian National Foundation, 2200 Route 10, P.O. Box 280, Parsippany, NJ 07054.)