Jane Lytvynenko’s family outside their rental property in Nanaimo’s University District. From left: Luka Lytvynenko, Oksana Lytvynenko, Yevheniia Koval, Tetiana Malashta, Victoria Breznytska (her children, Sofia and Arsen), Jane Lytvynenko and her son, David. Not pictured is Volodymyr Malashta, Tetiana Malashta’s husband. In partnership with the OV Arts Centre, Youth 20/20 Can will hold a benefit concert to help support the family on Saturday, May 7. (Mandy Moraes/Nanaimo Bulletin)

Jane Lytvynenko’s family outside their rental property in Nanaimo’s University District. From left: Luka Lytvynenko, Oksana Lytvynenko, Yevheniia Koval, Tetiana Malashta, Victoria Breznytska (her children, Sofia and Arsen), Jane Lytvynenko and her son, David. Not pictured is Volodymyr Malashta, Tetiana Malashta’s husband. In partnership with the OV Arts Centre, Youth 20/20 Can will hold a benefit concert to help support the family on Saturday, May 7. (Mandy Moraes/Nanaimo Bulletin)

Benefit concert will help recently immigrated Ukraine family in Nanaimo

‘Stand With Ukraine’ show to be held Saturday, May 7, at the OV Arts Centre

A youth volunteer club, Youth 20/20 Can, has organized a benefit concert that’s intended to directly improve the lives of a recently landed Ukraine family.

The concert, Stand With Ukraine, will be held on Saturday, May 7, at 6:30 p.m., at the OV Arts Centre, 25 Victoria Rd., in Nanaimo.

Gwen Vonarx, a youth engagement worker with the organization, said the discussion first came about in late March.

“One of our members is in a band, and we were brainstorming about different projects, since that’s actually B.C. Youth Week the first week of May,” she said. “They wanted to do something that would directly help local people.”

The concert will have performances by Summer Rain, Danger Box, Fountain Bather and Elise Boulanger. As with the venue space provided by the OV Arts Centre, the artists will donate their time with no compensation.

Boulanger, a solo artist, said she is looking forward to people coming together with a unified intention. In her performance, she plans to sing Opus of Migrants, a song written for a previous benefit concert.

“It was specifically about that journey of people coming to a strange land with strange people, but about them being held and loved no matter what,” she said, and added the sentimentally of the song would feel appropriate for the May 7 concert.

The family the concert will help support is that of Jane Lytvynenko, a Vancouver Island University business administration student who also plays for the VIU Mariners women’s volleyball team.

Of the 11 expected family members, seven have already arrived and four more are anticipated within the next month. Amongst aunts, uncles, sister and cousins, a family friend’s 16-year-old daughter whose parents were unable to come to Canada has also arrived.

“It’s going to be crowded, for sure,” said Lytvynenko. “But it’s better than where they were.”

Lytvynenko’s older sister, Victoria Breznytska, came from Kharkiv in eastern Ukriane where she lived for approximately 22 years.

“When the war started [in February] they heard missiles coming close – I was on the phone with her,” said Lytvynenko. “And I could hear it. And I was like, ‘you guys have to pack and just leave.’ The missile doesn’t have to hit the apartment to give life-threatening damage.”

Her sister had to abandon her home within two hours from when war was declared, and was forced to live “on the road” for three and a half days.

The funds raised from the benefit concert will go toward living essentials such as food, personal items, living expenses and a medical exam required to activate work permits.

“I’m not quite sure what kind of expenses we’re going to be facing, but any amount – we appreciate it. Whatever we get, we will make it work,” said Lytvynenko.

She continued to say how grateful she was to her landlord for allowing a month free from rent for both properties they were occupying.

Lytvynenko hopes the money raised will be enough to last her family until the adults are able to get jobs – which may be difficult, as not everyone is fluent in English.

She said she feels incredibly blessed that her family has received all the support it has so far.

“[We’re] really thankful to the people of Nanaimo, and to the whole community and organizers of the event. It means a lot… ” she said. “What my family has been through … Any help that’s coming our way, I appreciate everyone that takes part in any way. I would never have imagined that people would be so responsive and so caring for a family that they don’t know.”

The Stand With Ukraine concert will also include a raffle and concession, and bumper stickers will be available for purchase.

Tickets for the May 7 show can be obtained by e-mail through http://volunteernanaimo.ca or by phone at 250-758-7121.

READ MORE: VIU cheers its stars who helped Mariners achieve team success

READ MORE: Ukrainian-Canadians in Nanaimo holding fundraiser to try to help however they can


mandy.moraes@nanaimobulletin.com

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