The Polonica American Research Institute (PARI), a department of the Polish Mission of Orchard Lake Schools, is a non-profit research facility devoted to helping Polish-Americans trace their family history. Through the use of the rich resources of the Central Archives of Orchard Lake and sources both in the United States and Poland, PARI has assisted many patrons in discovering more about their ancestral ties to Poland. This institute runs on the hard work of dedicated volunteers who have spent countless hours building the research facility from the ground up.
Previously only open to the public 10 am- 4 pm on Fridays, PARI has responded to requests to expand its hours of operation to include Saturdays allowing more opportunities for visitors and volunteers. “We have short and long term projects underway. Whether someone donates an afternoon of work-or can commit to once a week-we have indexing, organizing, and research projects for them to complete,” says Ceil Jensen, Director of PARI.
One of the newest projects undertaken by PARI is the Green Map System, which are locally created environmentally themed maps that plot locations of a community’s natural, cultural and sustainable resources by using a universal symbol set and mapmaking resources. With 55 countries already in participation, Green Maps is quickly becoming the universal guide for sustainable living and promoter of public involvement in a local community’s natural and man-made environment. Heritage sights, socially conscious businesses and community gardens are just some of the places included on the Green Maps. Three PARI maps are planned: a walking tour of campus, a map pinpointing the sites represented by the historical figures in the Panorama, and a vintage map of Detroit—showing the auto factories and Pol-Am neighbourhoods.