Local publisher helps create national TV show about immigrants

May 10, 2000|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHEN AN immigrant arrives in the Maryland area, there's a good chance that he or she will be helped by Hampstead author Raimonda Mikatavage.

Because her family defected to the United States in 1972, Mikatavage understands from experience the expectations and confusion that new immigrants face. Complex and changing issues continue to affect residents who were born outside the United States.

Mikatavage devotes her energy to sorting out solutions in print, on the radio and most recently, national television.

This column told the story of Mikatavage's first book, "Your Journey to Success," which became a best seller in her home country of Lithuania, in addition to selling thousands to a niche market in the United States.

To help the immigrants who steadily arrive in the United States, Mikatavage began publishing self-help books by setting up her publishing company in Hampstead, called Melodija Books. Her recent book, "Immigrants & Refugees: Create Your New Life in America," has been released in English, Spanish, Russian, Bosnian and Lithuanian. It received Independent Publisher magazine's Multicultural Award last year, with high praise from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, members of Congress and national publications.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening appointed her to the Maryland Advisory Council for New Americans, and she received a Governor's Citation for her work on behalf of immigrants.

Her latest plan to reach recent immigrants is to produce a national television show, "Pioneer Living Series." She has planned 13 episodes intended for the foreign-born and multicultural audience.

Stories originate throughout Delmarva, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York and California. Robert R. Rill, president of the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Company, serves on the advisory board of the production team of "Pioneer Living Series," with eight television and communications industry professionals. It features interviews with successful immigrants and exhibits the resources available at each location to new immigrants.

Production started May 1; the show's host is Noriyuki `Pat' Morita, known as Arnold on "Happy Days" and Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" movies. Taping begins May 19 on location at the Foreign-born Information and Referral Network Inc. in Columbia, Baltimore City Community College's English As Second Language program and Bethesda Engravers in Dundalk.

Mikatavage is one of eight correspondents. She wants the show to strengthen ethnic families and communities while improving the image of multiculturalism.

"This is educational and timeless," she said. "We'll cover issues from career and personal development to business etiquette to foreign-born athletes. Our reporters have already developed 50 story ideas."

More information about multicultural programs and the "Pioneer Living Series" can be found at the Web site, www.pioneerliving.com.

If you have an interesting story about immigration or would like to suggest a guest for the show, call Mikatavage at 410-374-3117.

Golf will benefit schools

You don't have to appreciate computers to enjoy a game of golf, but you can help provide the latest computer technology to both area middle schools by playing a game June 12.

The PTO at North Carroll Middle School has announced that the fourth annual benefit golf tournament will be held at 1 p.m. June 12 at Piney Branch Golf Club on Trenton Mill Road, Hampstead, sponsored for the second year by Silver Financial Group.

The tournament includes 18 holes, cart, prizes, course beverages and a steak dinner served at 5: 30 p.m.

Four-person teams or individuals may register. Several team prizes will be awarded, and contests for longest drive and closest to the pin will be held. A 2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser will be awarded for a hole-in-one.

Several raffles are offered, and the biggest prize is a three-day golf trip for two.

Past tournaments have helped buy computers and learning materials for the middle school. This year's tournament will benefit North Carroll and Shiloh middle schools.

If you'd like to make a cash donation, contribute a door prize or volunteer, call Pat Koch at 410-374-5982 or Terry Lettau at 410-751-3440.

To become a sponsor or to register for the tournament, call Bob Mitchell at 410-239-4555.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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