“I am impressed by your achievements,” said Andrew Nagorski, Chairman of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation’s Board of Directors, who visited participants of the Foundation programs in the vicinity of Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Radom and Stoczek Łukowski on December 3 and 4. “The scope of your activities and their results are really impressive,” emphasized Grzegorz Jędrys, Head of the PAFF Representative Office in Poland.
The Chairman of the PAFF Board of Directors started his visit with the meeting at the Act Locally Center – “Europe and We” Association of Grodzisk Mazowiecki. President of the Association Daniel Prędkopowicz told the guest about involvement of the “Europe and We” Association in the implementation of the “Act Locally” and “PAFF Local Partnerships” programs. The meeting was held at the “GTV-Twoja Okolica” Internet citizen television studio. The television is co-created by residents of the area and volunteers, as part of the “PAFF Local Partnerships” Program.
Next Andrew Nagorski visited the Culture Pavilion, where he met director of Grodzisk Mazowiecki Commune Public Library Dorota Olejnik. She told him about the benefits of participating in the Library Development Program, one of them being the permanent change in attitude to the library, which started to be perceived as the modern place, a multifunction center of information, education, culture and civil activity.
The next place visited by the guest from America was “ARKA” Youth Center Association of Radom, run by father Andrzej Tuszyński, who for his activity for the benefit of people in need was awarded with the title of the “Civic Leader of the Year” in the Newsweek Polska weekly competition, of which PAFF is the main partner. Since 2005, the “ARKA” Association is also an Act Locally Center operating at the area of as many as 11 communes. During the meeting, Fr. Tuszyński, President, and Ewa Kamińska, Vice President of the “ARKA” Association not only told him about various activities but also showed practical operation of “ARKA” taking the visitor to several places where the activities are carried out.
During those visits the guest was accompanied also by Rafał Graczyk, the Association coordinator. The guest could also assess the musical and dancing skills of two groups – Youth Orchestra of Jedlnia Kościelna with its director Mr. Zbigniew Bidziński and the Jedlińskie Rączki Song and Dance Ensemble of the Public Junior High School in Jedlinsk – which performed for him. Both ensembles were established thanks to grants awarded by the “Act Locally” Program. Also, the Regional Coordinator Agnieszka Brzeska-Pająk shared her experiences from her work for the “PROJECTOR- Student Volunteers” Program, and the student-volunteers Agnieszka Banasik and Maciej Kurowski spoke about the projects for children and youth from small localities implemented under the program.
In Stoczek Łukowski, Lubelskie voivodeship, the Chairman of the PAFF Board of Directors met participants of as many as eight Foundation programs – “Act Locally”, “Equal Opportunities”, “PAFF Leaders”, Library Development Program, ICT for Local Development, “Support for NGOs” and “Seniors in Action” grant competition. This extraordinary activity in the PAFF programs was awarded with and invitation to the “PAFF Local Partnerships” Program, under which the coalition was established to carry out the joint “Stoczek Łukowski – a town of struggle and arms” project. The host of the meeting was Łukasz Szczepańczyk, President of the Association of the Social Creativity Incubator – Act Locally Center and leader of the partnership.
The discussion summing up the achievements and outlining plans for the future was attended by Mayor of Stoczek Łukowski Ireneusz Szczepanik, Director of the Municipal Center of Culture Maciej Moreń, as well as representatives of organizations and institutions which implement locally PAFF programs, including Paweł Walecki (PAFF Leader), Director Iwona Brodzik and Agnieszka Barej of the Public Library in Stoczek Łukowski (Library Development Program), Ewa Buczyńska – President of the LKS Dwernicki Stoczek Łukowski and Hanna Stasio, Chairman of the 50+ Club (“Seniors in Action”). The projects implemented as part of the “Equal Opportunities” program were presented by young leaders – Aleksandra Osiak and Jakub Kania.
The three Act Locally Centers that organized meetings allowing to present their experiences from PAFF programs implementation were presented with the diplomas of appreciation for their achievements so far and wishes of further development. The diplomas were presented by Chairman of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation Board of Directors Andrew Nagorski and Head of the PAFF Representative Office in Poland Grzegorz Jędrys.
Andrew Nagorski, Chairman of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation Board of Directors, former Vice President and Director of public policy for the EastWest Institute, New York, worked for many years for Newsweek International, as Senior Editor and foreign correspondent in, among others, Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw and Berlin.