On July 10-21, 2023, ESL Charitable Summer Program was offered to Ukrainian middle and high school refugees in Philadelphia. This educational endeavor was organized and sponsored by St. Sophia Religious Association of Ukrainian Catholics, Inc. The project was originally launched for children from the annexed territories of Crimea and Donbas, families of Ukrainian soldiers, displaced persons, orphans and seminarians of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. In 2015-2019, the program took place in the Josyf Slipyj Museum Complex in the village of Zazdrist, Ternopil region. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21, classes were held online. More than 140 young men and women have benefitted from the program. This year, St. Sophia Association offered ESL to forcibly displaced teenagers who arrived in the USA as a result of the war in Ukraine.
23 participants, aged 11 to 17, improved their English skills at elementary, basic and intermediate levels. Classes were held at the Basilian Spirituality Center in Jenkintown, PA, and were taught by Dora Vynnytsky, Halyna Kozak, Olha Mykulanynets and Iryna Ivankovych. The program included grammar, conversational English, reading comprehension, pronunciation, and adapted literature. The training consisted of three morning and one afternoon classes which also included watching and discussing movies. To diversify the program, the organizers provided additional classes, such as: a seminar on the basics of budgeting and financial management offered by Ukrainian Selfreliance Federal Credit Union in Philadelphia; fairytales presentation by Andriy and Lyuba Chornodolsky; bead necklaces workshop and Rosaries-making classes for the armed forces of Ukraine; an tour of the Ukrainian Heritage Center at Manor College; presentations about the English-speaking world, which the participants prepared with the assistance of their American peers: Denys Baranov, Vladyslav Nestor and Juliana Derzhko. The participants of the program had a unique opportunity to be immersed in the English-speaking environment, explore American history, culture and traditions. The ecumenical program included morning and evening prayers.
“This project, originally initiated by St. Sophia Religious Association in Ukraine, today serves middle and high school refugees who fled the war and are now adapting to new circumstances of life and education in the USA,” says Iryna Ivankovych, President of the Association.
The ESL program was supported by: Ukrainian Selfreliance Federal Credit Union in Philadelphia; Passage Restaurant; Sisters of St. Basil the Great (Christ the Lover of Mankind Province, Jenkintown, PA); UNWLA Philadelphia Regional Council; American Ukrainian Relief Association; Hampton Store; Fletcher-Nasevich Funeral Home; WL Gore&Associates; Oksana Ivanovych; Halyna Malynovych; Dorian Kernytsky; Oksana Terleckyj, as well as volunteers Olha Havryshchuk, Denys Baranov, Juliana Derhzko, Oleksiy Derzhko, Vladyslav Nestor, Viktoria Hudzenko, Tereza Kozyak, Khrystyna Pshenychna and Mariia Myndiuk/
St. Sophia Association Press-Bureau