Do you keep coming across these Czech and Slovak organizations but have no clue what they do or what are they like? Well, I am officially creating a new series of interviews where we are going to meet their true faces. My first catch is the Czech and Slovak Association in Boston. The founders are these 3 very nice ladies – Estera Mlch, Renata Dutton, and Maria Grantham (see the picture above) – who have always been so nice to me so they get to be historically the first ones to be interviewed:
1/ Hi Renata, can you introduce your organization a bit? How did it come around and whose idea was it?
This year we celebrated the 5th anniversary of our organization and we are so very proud of it. For me the whole idea probably started when I was home with my one-year-old daughter and I needed some intellectual fulfillment in my life besides the regular mom stuff. I also missed other Czechs and Slovaks and that’s why my Slovak girlfriends Marika and Ester and I put our brains together and realized the unfortunate fact: Boston lacked information on Czech and Slovak happenings in America. We do have the Masaryk Club but this organization concentrates on other things. That is why we created our website and registered our organization. At first we started advertising events made by other organizations and later held our own events. I have to say, we have gotten quite far – getting the recognition from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Czech Embassy and other organizations.
2/ I know you guys introduce a lot of interesting events like the concert of a famous Czech band the Olympics; which one of these events was according to your opinion the most fun one?
I think that the Olympic concert was probably the greatest event we have had. But I have to admit that other concerts that we had (Ivan Mladek, Cechomor, Petr Kotvald, Misha or the Plastic People of the Universe) were also unforgettable. Just this January we have created the most beautiful ball ever – the First Czech and Slovak Gala Ball in Boston. This event shifted our organization to even a higher, more professional one, which in turn made other Czech and Slovak patriots aware that we are able to create an event that is not only professional and elegant but it is also accompanied by a solid and intelligent entertainment.
3/I love your “Beer/Coffee hour” idea! Do you have regular visitors? What do you, guys, do? Do you have any scheduled program or do you just chat about whatever?
It’s just a relaxing time for all of us, time to meet new people and find out what’s new. We used our time of Coffee Hour as an opportunity to celebrate Christmas and Easter. Children are able to decorate Easter eggs or Christmas cookies…since it is usually the whole family that comes it is really a beautiful time of togetherness (we can be thankful to our hosts – the owners of the Continental Bakery, Jozka and Gabika Nagy).
4/ Since you are a mom too, I wanted to ask you, if you hold any playgroups in the Boston area. I bet some of the CMD readers – the Czech moms living in Boston – would love to come to!
I have met a bunch of new friends thanks to our Playgroup; all of us still meet, now mostly without the kids since most of them are bigger now. We call our meetings “Babinec” (“Chick time”) where women can relax (now without kids!) and talk with their girlfriends in peace. I have a job now and don’t attend the playgroups anymore, but many moms still continue to meet together with the kids and do many activities.
5/ Anything else you would like to add?
I respect anyone who tries to preserve our culture, traditions and language. That’s why I would like to thank you for what a time and effort you put into your great website so that Czechs and Slovaks won’t forget where they came from.
CZ: 1/ Muzes nam, Renato, predstavit vasi Czech and Slovak Association? Jak vlastne vznikla? Ci to byl napad?
Letos jsme oslavili 5. vyroci zalozeni nasi organizace, a jsme na to hrdi. Pro me to zaclo vse asi tim, ze jsem byla doma s rocni dcerkou a chybelo mi to profesionalni uspokojeni, mela jsem potrebu delat neco vice,nez co maminky s detma doma muzou, a taky mi moc chybeli krajane, a tak jsme s moji kamaradkou Ester a Marikou, ktere jsou ze Slovenska, daly hlavy dohromady, a prisly jsme na to, ze v Bostonu a okoli chybi zdroj informaci o ceskem a slovenskem deni v Americe. Mame tu spolecnost Masaryk Club, ale ta se soustreduje na jine typy akci. Takze jsme registrovaly webovou stranku, kterou doposud vytvarim ja. Nejdrive jsme na strance propagovali akce jinych organizatoru a pak zacali delat svoje akce. Dnes uz jsme celkem daleko, a ziskali jsme respekt Ministerstva Zahranicnich Veci, Ambasad, i jinych organizaci.
2/ Konate hodne zajimavych akci, jako napriklad nedavny koncert Olympiku; jaka akce byla z tveho pohledu ta nejzajimavesi?
Myslim, ze koncert Olympicu byl asi nas nejvetsi zazitek, ale musim priznat, ze koncerty Ivana Mladka, Cechomoru, Petra Kotvalda, Mishy, nebo Plastic People of the Universe byli tez nezapomenutelne. V lednu jsme usporadali prekrasny ples, First Czech and Slovak Gala Ball v Bostonu, a posunuli jsme tim organizaci na mnohem vyssi uroven a dokazali krajanum, ze jsme schopni prinest komunite akce nabyte eleganci, profesionalitou a inteligentni zabavou.
3/ Vase “Beer/Coffee hour” se mi vzdy moc libila; je to vyborny napad! Mate stale navstevniky? A co delate? Mate nejaky stanoveny program nebo si jen proste povidate?
Je to v podstate oddychova zabava, lide se sejdou, poznaji nove pratele, poradi si, dozvi se nove zajimavosti atd. Coffee Hour jsme vyuzili i k oslave nekolika svatku, jako jsou Velikonoce ci Vanoce. Deti maji moznost dekorovat cukrovi ci vajicka, sejdou se cele rodiny, a jsou to velmi mile akce, hlavne diky vlastnikum kavarny Continental Bakery – Jozkovi a Gabice Nagy.
4/Vim, ze jsi maminka, tak jsem se chtela zeptat, zda-li nemate take nejakou tu playgroup, pro nase maminky-ctenarky z Bostonu.
Diky nasim Playgroups jsem poznala mnoho pratel, se kterymi se dodnes schazime, nekdy uz i bez deti, protoze nam ponekud vyrostly, ale my maminky jsme zustaly prateli, a poradame ted takzvane Babince, kde si naopak zeny odpocinou od kazdodenniho ruchu, a relaxuji ve spolecnosti pritelkyn. Ja chodim do prace, takze na playgoups uz bohuzel nechodim, ale vim, ze se skupina maminek schazi na ruznych hristich a akcich.
5/Jeste neco by jsi chtela dodat?
Vazim si kazdeho, kdo se snazi zachovat nasi kulturu, jazyk, a zvyklosti. Proto bych chtela podekovat i Tobe za velmi milou stranku a praci, kterou davas tomu, aby Cesi nezapomeli na svoji vlast.
TanaIf you liked this post buy me a coffee! (Suggested:$3 a latte $8 for a pound) Thanks!