Alumni in Montenegro and Macedonia Share Halloween and Humanitarian Spirit

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This year, A-SMYLE alumni in Montenegro and YES alumni in Macedonia used the Halloween holiday as an opportunity to gather together and reach out to their communities.

A-SMYLE Alumni Bring Halloween Celebration to Podgorica for Fourth Year

One volunteer let participants like this Medusa turn him into a mummy by wrapping him in toilet paper.

On October 29th, alumni in Montenegro organized their fourth annual Halloween Celebration at the American Corner in Podgorica.  Sixty children—some from Montenegro; others from foreign countries including the United States, Hungary, Guatemala, and Canada; and all in costume—joined the alumni and other volunteers in a range of American and holiday-inspired activities, including playing musical chairs and duck-duck-goose, doing the hokey-pokey, carving pumpkins, having their faces painted, and making mummies and ghosts.

The highlight of the afternoon’s events was a costume parade.  The children showed off their costumes to a panel of judges comprised of U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Ms. Shelly Seaver, American Corner representative Ms. Christine Deverdzic, and A-SMYLE alumna Ivana Kotlaja ’08, who then chose ten winners, five under seven years old and five seven years and older.  The winners each received toys and books of fairy tales, and all the children who participated received a candy bar, a key chain, or a small toy.

Participants watched intently as volunteers showed them how to carve jack-o-lanterns, which were later displayed around the Corner.

“Every year this event is getting bigger and bigger,” remarked Montenegro’s alumni coordinator, Ivan Vuksanovic, adding, “we were tired in the end, but it was worth it!” Vuksanovic offered special thanks to Anica Vojnic and Milena Miskovic Vucelic from the American Corner; volunteers Kristina Dedic, Marina Miskovic, Tanja Radovic, and Brian Salmi; alumni participants Ksenija Vukmirovic ’08, Jovana Osmajic ’08, Marina Roganovic ’07; and the judging panel for making the event a success.

Halloween Party Organized by YES Alumni Raises $270 for Boy in Need

Tamara Kotevska ’11 (right), pictured here with fellow allumnae Noemi Chausidis ’11 (center) and Simona Ristovska ’10 (left) organized “Smiles Beneath the Masks” to raise money for Luka after learning about his need for expensive medical treatment.

On October 30th, alumni in Macedonia organized a Halloween-inspired fundraising event called “Smiles Beneath the Masks”.  The event, held in Skopje, was conceived by alumna Tamara Kotevska ’11 after she learned from local coffee bar owners about a boy named Luka Veljkovic who suffers from Autism and requires expensive medical treatment.  “We decided to make a party in order to celebrate the American holiday Halloween and, at the same time, use the entry fees to raise the money needed,” explained Macedonia’s alumni coordinator, Hristina Trifunovska.  The coffee bar owners who had first suggested the cause to Kotevska agreed to host the event for free, and several bands volunteered to play.

Basketball player Ivica Dimcheski gave a t-shirt bearing his name and number to Luka during the party.

Alumni advertised the party extensively, creating Facebook events, hanging posters around the city and in their schools, getting an online newspaper to announce the event, and even doing interviews on local TV stations.  Their efforts attracted 120 guests, including Macedonian basketball player Ivica Dimcheski, who presented Luka with a t-shirt.  In all, they raised 12,000 MKD or $270, which will be donated to Luka’s family for his treatment.  Trifunovska offered thanks on behalf of the alumni association “to all that participated and helped in the realization of this project!”