The Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister Cities Association has earned national recognition for its ongoing assistance efforts in Ukraine and for strengthening relationships between the two communities.
Sister Cities International named the Corvallis-based organization Best Overall program in the 50,000-100,000 population category.
Uzhhorod is a city of about 100,000 in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic in Eastern Europe. The Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister Cities Association got its start in 1989, not long after the Iron Curtain came down, when a group of Corvallis residents coalesced around the idea of promoting goodwill among people who had until recently been under Soviet domination.
Ken Trueba, president of the Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister Cities Association board, said the mission of Sister Cities International is to create friendly relations between people who might otherwise view each other with suspicion.
“You modify that image so you don’t see them as enemies, you see them as partners,” Trueba said.
“That’s the thought behind the program, to create peace person to person.”
Today the Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister Cities Association has between 150 and 200 members and manages a number of ongoing programs, including the TOUCH Project, which connects sponsors with orphaned, disabled, abandoned and neglected children in Ukraine. The acronym stands for Take One Ukrainian Child’s Hand.
The program is the brainchild of Alice Rampton and Sabra Killen, who head a core of volunteers to keep the effort on track.
“They do wonderful work,” Trueba said.
Other projects noted by Sister Cities International in the award citation include shipments of humanitarian aid to Uzhhorod through Counterpart International, promotion of child abuse prevention through an exchange of social workers and a program to increase breast cancer awareness.
A delegation of officials from Uzhhorod, led by the city’s mayor, is scheduled to visit Corvallis for several days next month.
Corvallis also has a sister city relationship with Gondar, Ethiopia.
This year’s Sister Cities International award winners will be honored July 14 with a ceremony during the organization’s national convention in Jacksonville, Fla.
Sister Cities International works with 600 U.S. communities to foster nearly 2,000 partnerships in 136 countries with the aim of promoting world peace and cross-cultural understanding.
Dinner to benefit sister city program
The Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister Cities Association is hosting a Bogrash dinner — featuring a thick, Eastern European soup — to raise money for programs that benefit the people of Uzhhorod.
The dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, May 18, at the First Methodist Church Community Center, 1165 N.W. Monroe Ave.
Soup dinner includes salad, bread and a dessert. Entertainment will be provided by members of the Umpqua Singers of Umpqua Community College (UCC) in Roseburg, who recently returned from a successful, 10-day concert tour in Ukraine and Hungary.
The cost is $10 to $20. Tickets are available at the door, but it is requested that people who plan to attend contact Els Lofgren at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat.
Proceeds from the dinner will support C-USCA’s many projects with Uzhhorod this year, including the prevention of domestic abuse, purchase of a 24-passenger, wheel-chair accessible bus for children with disabilities, coordination of animal humane activities, support of a Mayoral delegation this spring, and various other cultural and educational programs between the two cities.