Description: The Kalamazoo Latvian Association was founded in 1950 by Latvian refugees from WWII. Most had narrowly escaped their homeland after the Russian invasion of 1944. There is now a third generation of Latvians continuing to gather and celebrate their culture in Kalamazoo. The purpose of the KLA is to organize, sponsor and support Latvian culture in the Kalamazoo area. The KLA regularly organizes a variety of cultural events including concerts, plays, Latvian Independence Day celebrations and social gatherings. In recent years they have organized an annual Rummage Sale and Christmas Bazaar. The KLA is also responsible for maintaining the Center. The Kalamazoo Latvian Center was built in 1987 and is located next to the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church. The building serves as the fellowship hall of the church and activity center for all Latvian social and cultural activities. The building also provides space for the Kalamazoo Latvian School, where youth in grades K-8 have an opportunity to learn the language, culture, history and geography of their heritage. The Latvian Center is primarily used for Latvian cultural events and school, but the facilities are also available to other Latvian organizations or church and KLA members for rent. The main hall along with the kitchen is especially suitable for weddings and similar celebrations.
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