March 15, 2006 WASHINGTON, D.C. - A special concert was given here at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland on February 11, 2006 for "the benefit of the ABCXXI Child Awareness Program for Poland". The program was opened by Professor Andrzej Rabczenko, Minister Counselor, with welcoming remarks by President Susan Wilhere of the ABCXXI Committee (USA).
Irena Jarocka, superstar of Polish and European music, beautifully sang an extensive program entitled "With a Song Around the World" in English, French and Polish. Jarocka remains the "real deal:" she has unbridled talent, is loaded with charm and grace, and is very pleasing to the eye and heart. Award-winning composer/songwriter/pianist Wanda "Vanddi" Zukowska was the attractive and much accomplished accompanist who also excelled in her solo piano presentations. She has performed in hundreds of concerts and shows in Europe and North America, and she is continuously exploring new directions and forms in music and songwriting.
The over-capacity audience in the Embassy's Blue Salon and adjacent anteroom was totally captivated, visibly energized and thrilled by the stellar, multi-faceted performances of the two artists. Their continued applause, standing ovation, encore requests and the bouquets of roses presented all testified to their overwhelming appreciation for both the pops diva and pianist.
ABCXXI, located in Warsaw, conducts educational programs for children's development in Poland. It also organizes educational conferences and workshops all around Poland for the programs' diverse volunteer and professional implementers. The most popular undertaking is the nationwide campaign "All Poland Reads to Kids," which very actively promotes and endears reading to young children. In testimony to its great success, the Czech Republic has recently adopted Poland's idea of this reading initiative to also enrich its own children. The President of ABCXXI is Irena Kozminska, wife of Jerzy Kozminski, the former Ambassador to the United States.
Check Irena Jarocka website.
To find out more about ABCXXI please visit their web site at: www.CalaPolskaCzytaDzieciom.pl .
February 28, 2004 WASHINGTON, D.C. Irena Jarocka performed a very successful benefit pops concert here on February 28, 2004 at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in support of "ABCXXI - Child Awareness Program for Poland." After being introduced by Anna Niewiadomska, Cultural Attache', and Susan Wilhere, ABCXXI representative, the vocalist sang songs in Polish, English and French to a capacity audience in the Grand Ballroom. As a dynamic testimonial to her professional abilities, Jarocka easily succeeded in energizing and motivating members of the normally placid audience to participate in her performance by singing along, using rhythmic hand clapping, and standing, swaying to the music and lyrics. At the concert's conclusion she was rewarded with a resounding standing ovation and cries of "encore"!! - to which she graciously responded with yet more show-stopping songs. A lavish Polish buffet topped off the memorable evening.
To quote a few selected excerpts from her extensive profile: "Irena Jarocka is a true pop Diva and a music legend. Her numerous hits have topped the charts for three decades in her native Poland, where she was named 'Singer of the Year' four times. Her versatile repertoire ranges from the pop tunes that first made her a superstar, to jazz, Broadway, soft rock, and country styles. She performs in eight languages and has demonstrated remarkable longevity and ongoing growth as an artist. Currently, she lives with her husband, Michael Sobolewski, and daughter, Monika, in Lubbock, Texas, and in Warsaw, Poland."
"ABCXXI - Child Awareness Program for Poland" was founded there in September, 1998 by Irena Kozminska, wife of Jerzy Kozminski, Polish Ambassador to the U.S. from 1994 to 2000. The mission of the organization is to support and protect the emotional health of children and adolescents in Poland, which includes the very important issues of child abuse and exploitation. Presently, one ABCXXI's most popular and widely recognized programs is the national campaign "All of Poland Reads To Kids," which is addressing a most critical need and pressing problem. According to the organization, about 1500 libraries in Poland have closed over the past several years, mainly in rural areas, mostly due to financial problems. And the sad result is that many thousands of Polish kids no longer have access to books and other reading materials, which are expensive in Poland. A major consequence is that the literacy rate among the younger generation has decreased, and part of this generation is functionally illiterate.
Pani Kozminska and ABCXXI is combating juvenile illiteracy in Poland by using the intensive and highly successful national campaign, "All of Poland Reads to Kids", which promotes parents and adults reading aloud to children. The program is being promoted nationally through television spots featuring celebrities reading to their own children, as well as the distribution of educational brochures and other written materials, and posters designed by the world renowned Polish artist Rafal Olbinski. A national poll has reported that the reading-to-children campaign has resulted in more than one-third of the Polish population reading more to their children, and they are encouraging others to also participate. Other pleasant results are the very positive and important developmental, social and educational benefits that flow from the reading program to the children.
ABCXXI also intends to make books available to all Polish children. It plans to set up a system of mobile libraries, with actors traveling in them, that would regularly visit the especially hard-hit rural areas, thereby making the reading aloud program attractive and accessible for both the children and their parents.