Scholarship Recipient Gives Back - Alex Serebnitski Embraces Community Life

by Stu Slayen | Dec 04, 2017
Thirty-three-year-old dentist Alex Serebnitski has been happy to sink his teeth into community service ever since he arrived in Winnipeg in 2002.

Serebnitski was born in Ukraine. At the age of seven, he moved to Israel where his family lived in Jerusalem and then Beit Shemesh. He arrived in Winnipeg just in time to start his first year of university.

 “I always wanted to be a dentist,” he says. “My father and my grandfather were turned away from dental school because they were Jewish. So, becoming the first dentist in the family felt like an important way to honour them.”

Shortly after his arrival, Serebnitski learned about the Jewish Foundation and its scholarships. He received several education awards during his years at school. 

“We weren’t wealthy and I sometimes had three part-time jobs while I was at school,” he says. “The Foundation scholarships reduced my stress and helped me to feel supported. I knew that I was part of a community that cared and I wanted to give back.” 

Upon his arrival in Winnipeg, Serebnitski became a Big Brother through Jewish Child and Family Service (he’s still in touch with his Little Brother), and also started dancing in the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble (he still does!). When he graduated in 2009, he was saddled with six figures worth of student debt, but still started the Serebnitski Family Fund at the Jewish Foundation in 2010. 

“You eventually have to start, even if it’s in a small way,” he says. “I wanted to start making a difference right away for people who were in similar situations to mine.” 

For Serebnitski, it is important to contribute as a volunteer as well. He has been the Chair of the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee and now sits on the Grants Committee. 

“I have met remarkable people, heard powerful stories, and learned a lot about our community,” he says of his work with the Foundation. “It makes me all the more proud to pay it forward however I can. If someone wants to go to school, finances shouldn’t be a barrier.”