Ukraine: Vancouver Couple Convert Estate Into Refugee Sanctuary

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Ukraine: Vancouver Couple Convert Estate Into Refugee Sanctuary

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The Groust Nest was a life-long dream of Brian and Sharon Holowaychuks; a resort originally meant to host charity events, festivals, and galleries featuring local artists.

Brian’s grandparents immigrated from Ukraine to Canada as children, and they see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an attack on their family.

To help, the Holowaychuks are leasing the property to the organization for $1 per year and injecting funding to help Ukrainian families in need. They are currently renovating with the help of volunteers to get the property ready for those fleeing from the war.

Brian Holowaychuks

Since retiring 4 years ago from managing hundreds of employees in his previous companies Axe Music, Clear Sky Ranches and Colonial Railings. Brian a musician, carpenter and businessman has built Elite Self Storage, renovated two residences and is currently building the West Shore Business Park a 42 bay commercial/industrial park.

Born from Ukrainian heritage with grandparents that came from the Ukraine as children, Brian has put his life long dream of a world class resort on hold so that he can focus on helping the people of the Ukraine in every way he can.

Sharon Holowaychuks

Sharon is an accomplished award winning artist who has painted her whole life. For years she has donated her proceeds to help the Wild Arc supporting her other passion as a trained veterinarian assistant. With a lifetime of caring for animals from our Elk farm to thousands of wildlife at the Wild Arc, Sharon is appalled with the inhumanity of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. So she put her dream of a nonprofit art gallery featuring local artists on hold in order to help the mothers and children that have been lucky enough to escape.

Providing a home

With external support, they’re aiming to provide over 100 Ukrainian refugees with a safe and peaceful place to call home. A former 82-acre resort property on Vancouver Island is preparing to accommodate the needs of dozens of families.

The 15,000 square-foot resort

Support for families

Ukrainian refugees will be provided with food, education, transportation, and assistance with the settlement process to help get families back on their feet.

Building a community

Most importantly we can provide a safe community where Ukrainian refugees can support each other through these difficult times.

We’ve got 19 people booked to be coming in about two to three weeks,” Brian told Global News Canada. “We’re in a position, in a place, in a time where we could help make a bit of a difference. And I thought, you know, it’s time to stand up and be counted.”

For those who want to help, the Ukrainian Safe Haven is accepting donations and volunteer support on their website.

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