Thanks to your generous donations, we have raised over $600 on Valley Gives Day, which is almost 3 times as much as we raised last year! This money help us in the running of the Center!
Here’s the complete list of the Top 10 Reasons to Support the Polish Center, 8 of which you may have already seen on our Facebook page but with less detail.
1. Digital Archives:
The archives are a new project that we started in the spring of 2014. A large portion of the current online archives are the papers of Felix Furtek donated by his grandson Rob Strycharz throughout the year. The online exhibits also include a collection of World War I postcards of Polish American volunteers in the Blue Army. The most recent addition is a 3d model of the Pulaski decanter that sits in our reception hall. With additional funds, we hope to further expand the archives and create more 3d models that are fun, interactive and educational.
2. Lectures and films:
We were able to co-organize a talk and film by Mr. Felix Molski along with the Irish Cultural Center. Mr. Molski talked about Paul Edmund Strzelecki, who, among his other exploits, explored New South Wales in Australia naming the continent’s highest peak after Tadeusz Kościuszko and saved 150,000 Irish children from starvation during the Potato Famine. We hope to bring more interesting and educational talks and films to the Polish Center.
3. Foster cooperation:
Classes from Elms College as well as local public schools came for a tour of the Polish Center and learned about the Polish community in Chicopee, Polish immigration to the US and general Polish history. In recent months, representatives of Elms College, Westfield State University, Krosno State College (Poland) and Polish Center were discussing further cooperation between the institutions. We want to improve and expand on our involvement with the local community.
The Polish Center houses a library of over 4,000 books which, despite not being our main area of acquisition, expands at an exponential rate. We are cataloging these books as they come in and are working on the materials we acquired before we had a comprehensive cataloging plan in place. Funds will help us implement an online library system where users will be able to browse and check out our books. Additionally, we will be able to digitize books not currently found on Google books or similar sites.
5. Community Service Award
During our annual Krakus Festival, we award the Community Service Award to members of our community who have selflessly donated their time and energy to support causes that foster the spirit of friendship and cooperation. Recent winners included Teresa Struziak Sherman and Congressman Richard Neal.
We create new exhibits with the funds and donations we acquire. Thanks to a generous gift, we were able to build the Polish Cottage which receives high praise from everyone that visits it. Its atmosphere is truly impressive with the smell of Polish mushrooms and the light from the stove.
We are also currently working on expanding the Polish Americans in the Armed Forces Gallery thanks to another generous gift, and we will display World War I military medals and uniforms among other artifacts.
7. Trip to Poland:
This coming summer, we will once again organize a trip to Poland which will explore the well-known tourist attractions and lesser-known gems of Polish history and culture. Staś always organizes a great tour and everyone that attends has an incredible time, learns a lot about Poland and its history, and enjoys seeing the strongest post-communist economy in Europe.
The Polish Center currently sends out a newsletter, an e-newsletter and we publish blog posts. The newsletters are concerned with the running of the Polish Center, what we’ve been up to and what we plan on doing. The blog posts also provide you with the opportunity to learn about Polish history and culture. Donations help offset the cost of printing our newsletter and sending it to your doorstep.
9. Genealogy classes:
The Polish Center, along with the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts sponsored genealogy classes at the Chicopee Public Library where people were able to learn the basics of genealogical research and started looking up for family records and putting their family histories together. Talk of family histories is also seen among people taking tours of the Center.
The efforts of many people and the financial backing of an even greater number is needed to run the Polish Center. However, it is Staś’s vision and perseverance that created the Center and his inspiration leads us to new and exciting projects. His leadership brings the best of all of us who donate our time, and his personality inspires any that meet him.