Part 2 of a 2-part series on Ukrainians who are finding peace in  Peterborough after Russia invaded Ukraine one year ago.

While hosting  Olena and her young son has been a deeply rewarding and fulfilling  experience for Ennismore’s Art and Linda DuTemple and their family, hosting  comes with a slew of challenges, and he wants would-be hosts to be aware of the  immense responsibilities that come with taking on the role. 

“It’s not easy. Being a host is hard. Bringing strangers into your home can  be challenging,” Art DuTemple said. “There’s wonderful bits to it and there’s  fantastic bits to it but there’s also challenging bits to it.” 

There are language barriers and cultural differences. But Art and Linda are  glad that they have been able to support their family and get them back on their  feet. Likewise, he’s thrilled the stars aligned and he and his family were able  to finally bring Olena and her son to Canada. 

“There may be people who are considering being hosts,” DuTemple said. “It’s a  tremendously rewarding experience. My wife and I set out to help people in need.  It’s a different way to help the war effort than just giving money — it’s  helping in a real, tangible way. And we did that. That’s our reward; my wife and  I feel great about what we did.”

DuTemple has some advice for people wishing to host Ukrainian refugees. 

“Most hosts should set a target end date. Four months is reasonable,” he  said, adding that’s how  long his first family stayed with the DuTemples in Ennismore. 

He’s hoping Olena will be well-positioned to leave with Nikita with a good  job in June or so — possibly to the GTA area — but being a single mom it may be  tough with Nikita in school, he said. 

“We’re committed to supporting them until they’re in a position to be  successful. We’re not kicking anybody out,” DuTemple said. 

He stressed the hosts need to keep realistic expectations before taking on  the task. 

“Your objective going into this cannot be that you want to host a family and  develop a loving, lifelong relationship with them,” DuTemple said. 

“Our objective was that we were going to help a family running from the war  to settle here in Canada. That’s what we’re going to do and that’s how we’re  helping the war effort, because every day that Olena is here with Nick and  they’re safe is a day that their parents aren’t worried about them, worried if  they have enough food to feed them, will they be killed or taken away.

“If you do develop a lasting, loving relationship, which I believe we have  with Olena and Nick, then that’s just a real bonus. It’s beautiful. When you  watch the three kids playing together it’s beautiful. It’s a gift.” 

He put Ukraine’s position in perspective. 

“Imagine you wake up one day and you turn on your TV and what you hear is  that the United States has crossed into Canada and they’re now laying siege on  Toronto. Sounds crazy but that is exactly what happened to Ukraine,” DuTemple  said.

“You just realize that’s the kind of thing that’s worth fighting for,  fighting for your country, for your freedom, because these people are going to  die for it and I’m quite passionate about it. That these people are going to die  for what they believe in, to say free.” 

Yvonne Lai, director of community development at the New Canadians Centre at  221 Romaine St., praised the DuTemples. 

“Art and Linda have been very generous with their home, personal time and  resources to assist two Ukrainian families. The welcome, support and initiative  from private hosts like them has been crucial for the continuing Ukrainian  resettlement effort in Canada,” Lai stated. 

Since last spring, the NCC has seen more than 200 Ukrainian refugees come  through its doors. 

The agency, which serves Peterborough city and county and also Northumberland  County, has also helped with resettlements of Afghan and Syrian refugees in  recent years.

Information on how people can help with resettlement is posted on the  agency’s website at

By Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 24, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Alberta Native News   Edmonton, Alberta

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