„What you do is very winsome,” said Andrew Nagorski, Chairman of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation’s Board of Directors, who in the company of other Board Members met with the participants in the “Seniors in Action” grant competition at the Adult Daycare Center in Brzeska Street in Warsaw.
As part of the 2012 and 2013 rounds of the “Senior in Action” project, the pair of leaders: Magda Latuch (28) and Bogdan Bocheński (70) implemented two initiatives – “Hallera Square” and “Brzeska Project”. “We wanted to reconstruct the local culture and habits because they fade away, and to return to the roots,” Bogdan Bocheński explained the objectives of the projects. He emphasized that the initiatives turned out to be a great success.
Both initiatives involved seniors from the “Cała Praga Śpiewa” (“The Entire Praga sings”) band operating at the Adult Daycare Center in the Praga district of Warsaw. The first of the projects served the organization of a series of intergenerational meetings that ended in a musical stroll at Hallera Square. The stroll referred to the tradition of making music together and its script was based on old-Warsaw and old-Praga songs and dances. The seniors from the “Cała Praga Spiewa” band took charge of the idea and implementation of the event. They were supported by the professionals: singer Justyna Jara, musicians of Czessband, “Barwy Kultury” (Colors of Culture) Association as well as local residents. “We learned not only how to sing but also how to work with our voices, link them with melody and work in a team,” noted Mr Bocheński. Under the second project – “Brzeska Project” – the seniors from “Cała Praga Śpiewa” band started the cooperation with the children from the community center run by “Aim High” Association and residents of apartments in Brzeska Street in order to discover the history of the Praga district. The project will be implemented for several months and will result in a publication of the “Brzeska Chronicle” and the “Street festival” on June 27, 2014. Both projects have been implemented thanks to the involvement of the “Barwy Kultury” Association.
Within the “Seniors in Action” grant competition, grants and training are offered to people over 60 years of age, who wish to carry out civic and intergenerational actions based on their own ideas. The competition is addressed to active senior citizens involved in activities both within the framework of the Third Age Universities and in cooperation with various organizations and institutions. “Our everyday work consists in overcoming stereotypes. We want to show that in fact seniors are very active in the social area,” said Beata Tokarz-Kamińska, Member of the Management Board of the Association for the Creative Initiatives “ę” which carries out the “Seniors in Action” competition. To date 189 intergenerational projects that stimulate seniors to act for their neighborhood, and promote the seniors volunteering have been subsidized. In the 6th round of the competition, which shall soon come to an end, 33 projects have been implemented.
The meeting with the PAFF Board of Directors ended with the performance of the “Cała Praga Śpiewa” band. This existing for four years band has recently recorded a CD with Warsaw and Praga songs.