The following article was written in June 2001
Rod Lewandoski had a dream. All his life he loved music and had wanted to help children, and in the spring of 1998, that dream would come true. Rod was at a local community club meeting in Polonia, Manitoba, a small hamlet, north of Neepawa, Manitoba. The members were discussing ways of making a little money to fix up their hall. Rod said, have you ever thought of having a music jamboree? You could get local bands, Rod having one of those country bands himself, to donate their music. We could serve food. Everyone loves perogies, and the Polonia Community Club are famous for their perogies.
Rod then told the club the other part of his dream, that of helping children. He told the members of a little girl, granddaughter of one of his band members, who was born legally blind. Another member knew a little girl in Minnedosa who was in need of some help. The members voted unanimously and they were eager to get started. First a name; “ The Little Valley Jamboree”, was going to happen, a day filled with music, fun and the opportunity to help children.
Both families were approached and were grateful for any help that could be provided to them. Rod contacted some musicians he knew, the perogies were made and everyone did what they could to help. Local merchants, corporations, and individuals donated time, money, merchandise, and service to help out. The media including local newspapers, radio and television all gave us great coverage. Family members, and friends from the local area and further, joined the community club members, volunteering for the many different tasks. The event turned out even better than Rod had dreamed about, thanks to the people who had backed him up, and many, many more. Each year we have improved by adding pay-what- you pull tickets to sell in advance of the day and adding the ever popular Chinese and Silent Auctions.
As of June 2001 we have raised approximately $24,000.00 for the children sponsored. We are very fortunate to be still operating the Jamboree with volunteers and donors. Just to back track a little and tell you a little about the setting for the Little Valley Jamboree. Polonia is a friendly little hamlet situated in a picturesque valley. Only about 10 people live there, summer brings a couple more. There is a community hall and a beautiful white church, St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic, which will celebrate its 100th birthday this summer. The church was the center of the life of the people of Polonia and surrounding area. Unfortunately it was closed a few years ago, but is still opened for the occasional wedding and funeral and is the focus of an annual pilgrimage, the second Sunday in July in 2002. The Community Hall was always a gathering place for meetings, weddings, card games, dances and more. The people living in the area today are working very hard to keep up the traditions of their ancestors.
Rod is very grateful to the Polonia Community Club members for supporting him and working so hard to make the Jamboree happen. Thank you for taking the time to read about the Little Valley Jamboree.