Croatian Fraternal Union-National Federation of Croatian Americans to Host Special Olympics Fundraiser, May 31st!

Total Croatia News

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Please let me share with you all that we have scheduled a special music and wine tasting event on Friday, May 31st to benefit the wonderful Special Olympics organization in Croatia. The welcoming reception for the National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation (NFCA) and co-hosted by the Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU) is set for 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the CFU Headquarters in Monroeville, Pennsylvania and will feature beautiful Croatian music and Croatian wines, including Posip, Grasevina, Malvazija, and Plavac Mali. Also, we will taste and savor one case of the world class and world famous Grgich Hills Chardonnay, donated by Miljenko Grgich, the “King of Chardonnay”.

Founded in 1992, the Special Olympics in Croatia has forty affiliated chapters all over the country, and brings sixteen official sports to over 1,300 Croatians. The organization’s mission is to provide year–round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic–type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship. Competing in international events, Special Olympic athletes from Croatia have travelled all over the world—to countries such as China, Japan, Greece, South Korea, Austria, and the U.S. Most recently, the Croatian team competed in Abu Dhabi for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games where they proudly took home 3 gold and 7 silver medals. I was extremely pleased and it was my personal thrill to spend five days with Croatia’s Special Olympics delegation in Los Angeles, California for the 2015 Summer World games.

The Croatia’s Special Olympics organization has been led by Executive Director, Franjo Horvat and associate Sladjana Tatic for over twenty years and the work they do, to arrange sporting events for Croatians with intellectual disabilities is simply amazing, The NFCA is very proud to be a major sponsor and partner with this truly incredible organization. It’s my honor and pleasure to join Franjo Horvat and many other special friends for the 6th Annual Joseph Rukavina Special Olympics Floorball tournament on Friday June 14th, to be held in Gospic, in Lika where all my Rukavina relatives originate from!

We are lucky to have the popular Croatian singer Tommi Mischell performing, as well as Dario & Tamburaši on May 31st. Tommi Mischell is a Philadelphia based singer-songwriter, as well as an international recording artist signed for the major record company Croatia records. In her homeland country of Croatia, Tommi is known by a famous duet with Croatian tenor Vinko Coce entitled, “Da je meni s tobom kroz Pasike” which after being performed at the Splitski Festival in 1992, created overnight success for Tommi and Vinko. During the war in her homeland of Croatia, Tommi performed hundreds of humanitarian concerts to raise money for children left without parents, families affected by the war, and the reconstruction of churches throughout Croatia and Bosnia.

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In 1997, Tommi relocated from Europe to the U.S. where she collaborated with the famous Sigma sound studios in Philadelphia. Her soulful voice with underlined emotional dynamic allows her to master different music styles, ranging from French chanson and theater to jazz and pop. Since coming to the United States, Tommi Mischell and her family continue to engage in many projects supporting Croatia and the Croatian-American community.

Hailing from Western Pennsylvania, Dario & Tamburaši are a musical group fronted by Dario Barišić, with band members Brock Belich, Ben Wagner, John Huckle, and Mark Stafura. They play a wide variety of music from Eastern Europe and mainly focus on music from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. From traditional bećar songs to modern pop, and love ballads to furious instrumentals, Dario & Tamburaši will truly entertain you and lift your spirits for a good cause.

Tickets for this event are available for $40 per person, $75 per couple, and $100 for families, with all proceeds benefiting the Special Olympics organization in Croatia. All attendees can pay at the door with cash or checks made out to the NFCA CF. There will be light fare served for dinner—including appetizers, pasta, pizza, cheese, crackers, soft drinks, and dessert, besides the fine Croatian wine. For any questions and to RSVP, please contact Anna Maria Sičenica at: [email protected].

For a bit of history about the Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, daughter of the Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, founded the Special Olympics in 1968. As a child, Eunice witnessed her sister, Rosemary, grow up with an intellectual disability. This experience spurred her life-long passion to fight against the marginalization of individuals similar to her sister’s. Eunice’s passion took form during her time at college when, as a collegiate athlete, she saw that sports could serve to unite people from all different walks of life. Thus, her idea for the Special Olympics came from her deep love for helping people with disabilities achieve the justice, rights, and the recognition they deserve. Today, Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s passion lives on, as the Special Olympics has grown into a successful worldwide organization with over 150 countries participating, including Croatia.

The following day, the National Federation of Croatian Americans will be holding its Annual Assembly of Delegates meeting with a private Board of Directors and Delegates session from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm on Saturday, June 1st at the CFU national headquarters. For local Croatian Americans in the Pittsburgh area, you are invited and there will be a 1:30 to 4:00 pm public session with many distinguished guest speakers.

Mark your calendars and the event again is 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm and you live anywhere near Pittsburgh, you don’t want to miss this outstanding Croatian special musical event and fundraiser on Friday, May 31st.

More Croatian diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.


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