Buffalo, NY- One of the fastest growing non profits in the United States of America is United Cultural Society. The organization which is a 501 (c ) 3 non profit, is focused on keeping cultures and heritages a live. A major reason for it’s success is the efforts of Joseph Mikolaj Rej Jr.also known as JR, current President of United Cultural Society.
“I lost both of my parents leaving me with no family left in the United States. Knowing how much my Polish heritage meant to my family, the Polish community has become my family. While dealing with things I wish I never had to deal with, the void I had and my love for my Polish heritage became the family I no longer had.”
JR and his organization has impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people across the country with it’s unique events, which have taken cultural communities by storm. Their most successful events are the Polish Happy Hour Buffalo events, which is the largest monthly event in WNY and the largest Polish event of it’s kind in the United States. The events offer free admission, free Polish food, Polish music, and giveaways.
The Polish Happy Hour events and events like it have served as a great networking event for individuals and organizations to come together while enjoying an evening out.
What motivates JR? “ I really love people and my father use to always say that I always knew the right thing to do. My parents passing away crushed me but I God closed a door and I saw a window open up. If the blood inside me did not mean so much to me, I am not sure if I would still be here”.
When JR speaks about blood inside him he isn’t kidding….His father’s side goes back over 1000 years in Poland and he is a direct descendent of the Father of Polish Literature Mikolaj Rej, which is on Polish money today. As amazing as his family history is, his own father wanted him to focus on being an American.
“I recently found out that my father knew he was a Count, I remember him joking about it but I never took him serious. Recently , I was out with some friends and ran into a guy who said he worked with my father, I never saw this guy in my life but my dad looked similar to me when he was my age. This guy told me he was sorry for my loss and that he feels bad that him and my dad were not on speaking terms in his final years. That made me want to tell him that I found out my dad was a Count, the guy replied “I know”, I was shocked”.
That is why JR is so passionate about bringing people together and connecting them with their cultural communities. If he would have never gotten involved and started planting seeds, a long history could have been forgotten.
United Cultural Society’s next event will be the Buffalo Polonia Cup, which will be a Volleyball tournament featuring 14 different teams each represent a different city from Poland. It will be held at Holiday’s Sports Bar on Harlem Rd, in West Seneca. Registration is at 10AM. At 5PM the famous Polish Happy Hour Buffalo event will start. DJ Red will be playing music throughout the entire day.