The new year is still keeping us in a deep freeze, at least in Chicago. However, we are hopeful that, the uplifting moods generated by Lithuanian Independence Day celebration on Feb. 16th, and March 11th commemoration will shorten our wait for the warmth of spring. The long winter days of hibernation should be enervated by another event, Saturday, March 22nd, in Chicago at the Youth Center, by the afternoon event, LaBas.

All who are interested in learning about the Lithuanian American Community (LAC), would like to share ideas and suggestions for improving the organization, are invited. The typical response, when young Lithuanians are asked about the LAC, is a puzzled look, followed by  a shoulder shrug. So, this afternoon is dedicated to introducing the LAC, describing the organization, what is special about it, what is important about its work, and discussion of future initiatives.

District presidents Janina Udrien4 and Birute Kairiene will explain LAC structure and highlight the exciting areas of action.

Rasa Ardytė-Juškienė will present the LISS program for youth. This program has been successfully operating for several years. It provides an opportunity for young people of Lithuanian descent to work in Lithuania during the summer. These internships are a great opportunity for these teens to experience hands-on what they might be  interested in as a potential profession. They are assigned to private and government institutions. Participation in LISS also gives them an opportunity to improve their Lithuanian language, travel around Lithuania, and make new friends. Former and future attendees of the LISS program will be describing their experiences at LaBas.

Rev. Gintaras Jonikas, from Detroit, will share some thoughts about the importance of family in the path of faith.

Also included in the program is an overview of LAC publications.

Sigita Šimkuvienė, president of LAC Executive Committee, will discuss past and future projects.


The afternoon includes and introduction to a newly published book in Lithuania, about the trials and experiences of Lithuanians (who eventually immigrated to the US) during WWII. The book is a series of 18 interviews describing their desperate journey to the West during 1940-44 (interviewers Dalia Stakytė Anysienė, Laima Petrauskaitė VanderStoep, Dalia Cidzikaitė). These immigrations were in response to the dangers posed by the rapidly approaching Soviet army front and the threat of deportations to Siberia. The people interviewed openly discuss their reasons for leaving Lithuania, their life in the Displaced Persons camps in Germany, their decisions to eventually emigrate and settle in the US. This book is the completion of a project begun in 1995  by the LAC Cultural Council, „Oral History“, which includes 65 recorded interviews. As of today, at least half of those recorded have since died. Attendees will be able to purchase the book at LaBas.

Additionally, there will be a quiz show, and a concert. Please don‘t miss an opportunity to hear rising composer and singer Kestutis Daugirdas from LA, and singer Rimantas Pazemeckas.

Refreshments and desserts will be provided by Lithuanian Plaza Bakery and Deli (owner Vanda Morkuniene) and Food Depot International (owner Angele Kavakiene). We invite those living in and near Chicago. Not only will there be an opportunity to say „LaBas“, but also have a great time.

We will await you at 2 PM, at the Youth Center, 5620 S. Claremont Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60636, in the Great Hall.


This event is sponsored and organized by LAC Executive Committee.

For more information, call 203-415-7776 or 708-262-1212.

See you on March 22nd!!!


Lithuanian American Community Executive Committee Information