GIFT OF A LIFETIME - Dr. Leighton Nischuk and Warren Kreway stand with the framed gift from students in the Ukraine at the Gallery on Main.

GIFT OF A LIFETIME - Dr. Leighton Nischuk and Warren Kreway stand with the framed gift from students in the Ukraine at the Gallery on Main.

Gift from Ukraine to be presented to prime minister

Canada and the Ukraine may be thousands of kilometres apart, but a local group are trying to change that.

Canada and the Ukraine may be thousands of kilometres apart, but a local group with a special gift for the Canadian prime minister are trying to change that.

After visiting the Ukraine and starting up a school pen pal program, Warren Kreway and Dr. Leighton Nischuk have framed a handmade art piece made by the students from across the world.

The piece, which in a visual form demonstrates the Ukrainian students willingness to connect with Canada, will be presented to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as an act of diplomacy between the two countries.

The genesis of the project began over a year ago when Kreway accompanied Nischuk on a mission trip with Medical Mercy Canada to the Ukraine last May.

Kreway discovered his heritage and developed a connection with the children in the developing country. “We started working with the kids in the school and really connected,” said Kreway. “We started researching to see what their needs were. Multiple needs were evident like sports equipment and other things that would help them.”

Kreway and Nischuk eventually connected with a teacher and a group of students in Liviv, Ukraine, leading to the exchange of both nations’ flags and later a pen pal program, involving students from Ecole J.S. McCormick, Ecole Lacombe Upper Elementary School and Lacombe Composite High School.

To start the pen pal program, Kreway visited the schools and did a presentation about his trip, encouraging the students to participate in the across the globe project.

“The excitement in their eyes was just phenomenal,” he said. “Now they have a legacy to connect with the kids over there.”

Nischuk then returned to Ukraine this past May with a flag, pins, soccer uniforms plus all of the letters from the students in Lacombe to give to the Ukrainian students.

On this last trip, returning just a few weeks ago, Nischuk brought back a special gift from the students in Liviv — a handmade poster.

“I was a little bit worried about bringing it back to Canada because I didn’t have a good way to transport it,” said Nischuk.

He carefully placed the poster in his suitcase and hoped it would travel well. Luckily the artwork survived and Nischuk showed the gift to Kreway once he arrived home.

“When we noticed it was to be presented to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, we thought well we can’t just keep that in Lacombe, it has to go further,” explained Kreway.

From there, Kreway contacted local MP Blaine Calkins about the piece and the wheels were in motion for the project to reach a national level.

The poster then was brought to Shelley Holben, of The Gallery on Main framing shop, to custom frame the unique piece.

Kreway is passionate about the project and assisting those in the county of his heritage. “We need to help these people and what a better way to do it than through the children,” he said. “They are our future. They are going to be our next leaders.

“It has taken off in immense proportions. It has connected two worlds through the children.”

Nischuk agrees. “It’s going to grow.”

Next, the framed piece, along with the two signed Ukrainian flags and copies of the letters from the Liviv students will be presented to Harper at the Calgary Stampede or at another opportunity.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Most Read