Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta – Dancing can hold a lot of meaning, whether it’s keeping cultural traditions alive, expressing creativity, or connecting with others through movement. The Fort Saskatchewan Ukrainian Dance Association brings the world of Ukrainian dance to kids and adults of all ages in the small and close-knit community of Fort Saskatchewan.
The non-profit organization is run by parent volunteers who have kids in the dance association and who work to fundraise as much as possible to keep the organization operating efficiently.
The dance association got an extra boost to their funds thanks to local farmer Leona Mychajlunow, who nominated the organization for the $2,500 Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities (CFGC) grant. Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities is a program offered by Bayer Crop Science to strengthen rural communities by supporting local non-profit organizations that do much-needed work in their communities.
The CFGC grant helped pay for facility rentals, costumes, festival fees, and instructor fees, making the dance association as affordable as possible for families.
Leona has a grain and cattle operation that she runs with her husband and says she felt honoured the organization she nominated for the CFGC grant was selected.
“I chose the Fort Saskatchewan Ukrainian Dance Association because I’m of Ukrainian heritage and it’s important to me that the art of dance be showcased,” she says. “I’ve mentioned the CFGC grant to other farmers, letting them know it only takes a few minutes to apply for it and that it can help not only the organization that receives it, but also the whole community.”
Michelle Poherliak is treasurer of the Fort Saskatchewan Ukrainian Dance Association and her daughter is enrolled in the program. She says the dance association was excited to learn they were selected to receive the CFGC grant.
“Things like the dance association are important in a small community,” she says. “It’s vital to support organizations that are getting youth active and involved, teaching them skills like teamwork, and connecting them with others.”
Connection was one of the things Michelle was looking for when she and her family moved to Fort Saskatchewan from Edmonton in early 2022 after commuting back and forth for many years. She notes that the dance association was an important way for her and her daughter to make new friends. Aside from participating in Ukrainian dance classes, dancers can perform at various festivals and even take part in competitions locally and beyond. The $2500 CFGC grant has made it even more accessible for families to do so.