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Ladies Auxiliary

LADIES AUXILIARY OF THE ASSOCIATION OF POLISH ENGINEERS IN CANADA, OTTAWA BRANCH

40 years in service to Polish-Canadian community in Ottawa and charitable organisations in Poland

The objectives of the operation
History of the Ladies Auxiliary
Operation of the Ladies Auxiliary

Ladies Auxiliary Invites

Ladies Auxiliary of the Association of Polish Engineers in Canada (APEC), Ottawa Branch, was formed in 1958. It brings together the wives of the members of the APEC and all other women who are interested in charitable activities and in the animation of social life. Since its establishment, the organisation has been very effective in leading charitable actions, such as raising money, toys, clothes, etc., to benefit orphanages and nursing homes for seniors in Poland.

Board of Directors:

  1. Jadwiga Zarzycka - President, tel. 542-2313
  2. Weronika Ramik - Vice-President
  3. Beata Braczkowska - Treasurer, tel. 830-8410

If you are interested in the activities of the of the Ladies Auxiliary, please call our President at the phone number stated above.

The objectives of the operation

The organisation was founded with the purpose of reviving the social life of the families of the members of the Association of Polish Engineers in Canada, Ottawa Branch, and to organize various social, cultural, and charitable activities. All these events are open to the Polish-Canadian community of Ottawa in general.

Beside the opportunity of contributing to charitable and social work, the organisation offers the possibility to participate in organized lectures, social meetings, picnics, discussions over interesting current topics, exchanges of knowledge and experiences, but mainly, the opportunity to spend time among friends. Usually, these meetings include discussions, reading of poems or exchanges of views while enjoying a cup of tea. Husbands say that there is sometimes a little bit of gossiping.

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History of the Ladies Auxiliary

From the beginning of the existence of the APEC, the wives of engineers have always been wiling to help prepare all kind of events. The idea of creating the Ladies Auxiliary of the APEC was suggested by the APEC president at the time, Mr. Władysław Korczyński, and by another member of the Board of Directors, Mr. Jerzy Rüebenbauer. They invited 10 ladies, wives of the members and other ladies, to participate in a first meeting to discuss the idea. This meeting was held on October 17, 1958. The decision to create an official organization under the name of the "Ladies Auxiliary of the Association of Polish Engineers in Canada, Ottawa Branch" resulted from this meeting. The new organisation was set to revive the social life of the families of the members of the APEC, Ottawa Branch, by organizing various social, cultural, and charitable activities for its members and for the Polish-Canadian community in general.

First Board of Directors of the Ladies Auxiliary was composed of three ladies, and the first president was Mrs. Barbara Grabowska. Mrs. Grabowska is still a member of the Board of Directors today, for a numerous time. 40 years in active service for the Ladies Auxiliary! Thank you very much. We wish you further success!

Ladies Auxiliary brings together not only the wives of the engineers, but all the women who are interested in charitable activities and in the animation of social life, and especially the wives of engineers who are not members of the APEC. The first official meeting of the organization was held on January 20, 1959, and the second on March 9, 1959, during which General By-Laws of the organization were discussed. These General By-Laws were finally approved during the first General Meeting of the organization held on May 5, 1959. Those General By-Laws have been in effect, and have stayed almost not altered until this day.

Ladies Auxiliary has been, over the years, effectively operating and developing charitable actions, such as raising money, toys, clothes, etc., to benefit orphanages and nursing homes for seniors in Poland. Over the years, many members of the Polish-Canadian community of Ottawa have had the chance to try various delicious cakes and other goodies prepared by the Ladies Auxiliary at different special occasions, like balls, dances, meetings and lectures.

General By-Laws grant membership rights to:

  • wives of members of APEC, Ottawa Branch;
  • all women who work in the Ladies Auxiliary since its creation;
  • all women introduced by members of the Ladies Auxiliary.

According to the original design, the Ladies Auxiliary is a social organization without its own legal status, and General By-Laws define only the organizational form and method of operation of the organization. The annual General Meeting must approve all organizational changes. The president of the APEC, Ottawa Branch, is invited to participate in the General Meeting. The organization does not have its own Audit Committee, and uses services of the Audit Committee of the APEC in order to verify the annual activities of the Board of Directors and safeguard the correct application of the By-Laws.

The membership fees have always been nominal. All funds needed to support the operation come from casual collections or as benefits from different activities, like bazaars, balls and dances. Ladies Auxiliary was always a small organization, the number of members ranges between 18 and 35, but the number of actively working members was never smaller than 20. We should admire that such a small group was able to achieve so much. Despite the small number of members, Ladies Auxiliary has always been a very dynamic organization that organizes many diverse social, cultural, and charitable activities.

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Operation of the Ladies Auxiliary

During the first years of operation, the main focus was put on the organization of lectures, picnics, discussions and exchanges of knowledge and experiences (for its own members, members of APEC and for the Polish-Canadian community in general). It should be remembered that it was a period of time when the cultural life of Ottawa was rather non-existent. The lack of theatres and concerts was replaced by lectures and social gatherings. The majority of members had small children and those picnics and outings gave the parents the opportunity to spend some time together while promoting the creation of life long lasting friendships. Later came lectures with well-known Canadians from economical and political life, movies, shows, and collective outings to theatres, etc.

The first lecture of Ladies Auxiliary was organized on February 10, 1959, only 3 weeks after its formation. Dr. Tuszyńska was a speaker and the profit from this event was donated to the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland.

It is impossible to name all the projects of the Ladies Auxiliary, but we can mention some of them: helping the Polish School and the Polish Scout movement in Ottawa, organising tea parties after the ceremonies of receiving the Canadian citizenship, help in organising bazaars of the Polish Parish, organising celebrations of the Polish national holidays, and helping new immigrants. The organisation co-operates closely with the APEC, Ottawa Branch, and helps its members to organise various social and cultural activities.

A lot of the readers participated in the APEC General Meetings in 1960 and 1971, in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the APEC in 1967 and in 50th anniversary in 1991, keeping nice memories from these events. The preparation of all these events was in hands of the Ladies Auxiliary.

Since 1975 the main focus of the organisation have been shifted to the charitable activities. The first orphanage sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary is the one in Bartoszewo near Gostyń, and the next one is in Lucień, both in Poland. Over the years, the help was extended to include Sisters Albertine's, Sisters Seraphic's and Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul nursing homes for seniors, terminally ill and retarded in Poland.

For several years, the organisation was sending collected money the to the families of the imprisoned members of the "Solidarity Movement" in Poland. Every year Ladies Auxiliary receives letters from hospitals and nursing homes asking for help in buying much needed medical equipment. The main fundraising event to satisfy these needs is the annual Christmas bazaar.

It is important to emphasise that all the successes of the charitable activities of the Ladies Auxiliary are results of the never-ending support of the Polish-Canadian community of Ottawa.

Regular meetings, occasions to enjoy a cup of tea, are held every 4 to 6 weeks at individual member's houses. Like any organisation, the Ladies Auxiliary lived through sometimes difficult moments. But thanks to the everlasting enthusiasm of its members, it has always overcome its problems, and its overall contribution into Polish-Canadian social life have been outstanding year in and year out.

Over the years, Ladies Auxiliary has evolved from the subsidiary organisation into an independent one with its own program. The Ladies Auxiliary is a member of the Canadian Polish Congress and co-operates actively with other female organisations of the Ottawa region, mostly with the Polish Canadian Women's Federation, Branch nr. 8 in Ottawa. It is also a member of the "World Federation of Polish Women" ("Światowe Zjednoczenie Polek"). Despite many changes over the years, it is clear now that the organisation will always support the Association of Polish Engineers in Canada as long as it exists.

The Branch Executive expresses many thanks to "our ladies" for their constant assistance and support over the years.

Branch Executive


Based on the « History of the Ottawa Branch of the Association of Polish Engineers in Canada, 1941-1991 » (in Polish), by Antoni Świderski, P.Eng. and Wojciech Remisz, P.Eng., published in 1991. Chapter concerning the Ladies Auxiliary prepared by Maria Zielińska. Translation from Polish by Karyna Zielińska.

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