The Potomac Community Center will be celebrating the multi-ethnicity of the community with an inaugural “Cultural Dance and Cuisine” night from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17. The public is invited to an evening of international dance performances representing China, Greece, Russia, India, Latin America and more. Appetizers from each culture will be shared to give everyone an opportunity to taste the cuisine from many countries of the world.
The free, multi-cultural evening is the inspiration of the new director of the Potomac Community Center, Peter Jose Selikowitz. Selikowitz, who has worked in recreation for 30 years, began his new position on March 11. Originally from the New Jersey shore, Selikowitz was director of Parks and Recreation in Essex, Vt. — a community close to Burlington, Vt. New to the mid-Atlantic and the D.C. area, he is enjoying the many museums, cultural activities and athletic events in the area.
“The Potomac Community Recreation Center is one of our busiest and largest facilities, so the right fit for the position was critical,” said Recreation Director Gabe Albornoz. “Peter’s past professional experience in recreation, community programming, and more will be a wonderful asset to the department and the community.”
The “Cultural Dance and Cuisine” evening will provide an opportunity for the community to meet and talk with Selikowitz — and maybe even dance with him. Selikowitz is planning to participate with the dance troupes as well as spend time getting to know Potomac residents. “I’ve been out in the community passing out flyers and encouraging everyone to get involved. It’s going to be a sensational evening.”
“They told me this center was busy,” Selikowitz said, “and they weren’t exaggerating at all. I am thrilled that so many residents take advantage of the variety of programs that we offer. We have a huge senior population — over 300 come to exercise through tai chi, bone builders (in collaboration with Suburban Hospital) and more. Our pre-school classes with Coach Doug are exceptionally popular and Club Friday attracts 300 or more elementary school children each Friday. So far, the biggest challenge has been juggling the many duties of the director.”
One of his goals is to conduct a needs assessment with middle school youth to understand exactly what programs they would take advantage of. Along with Jeani Haven of the Friends of the Potomac Community Center, he is planning a focus group from four local middle schools to advise the community center — as well as to encourage middle school involvement. “It’s important that since I am new to this area, that I find out what my clients are interested in. Demographics are continually changing, as are the needs.”
His goals are commensurate with the mission statement of the Montgomery County Recreation Department – “to provide high quality, diverse and accessible programs, services and facilities that enhance the quality of life for all ages, cultures, and abilities.”
“I am excited to have Peter fill the center director’s position at the Potomac Community Recreation Center,” said Terry Blount-Williams, manager for Community Facilities and Programs. “I am confident Peter will continue the longstanding tradition of providing quality programs and activities, while finding new and creative ways to enhance programming.”