Apart from the truly wonderful educational possibilities that the participants have had during their stay at the University of Illinois in both Chicago and Urbana, the organizers of the program also took care to offer a rich social program. As part of the social program one has to mention the group`s visits to successful people of Yugoslav ancestry who have lived in America for decades already. In their homes and from their stories one could have seen how determination, persistence and willingness to accept any available job can bring success in America regardless of one`s origin.
Every year, since the very beginning of the Program, Mrs. Bratislava (Beba) and Mr. Vlado Bjelopetrovich, used to invite Program participnats for dinners in the surroundings of the Monastery Gračanica. There, Mrs. Bjelopetrovich, President of the Circle of Serbian Sisters for US and Canada, used to lead a Summer camp for the Serbian youth. In the vicinity of the wonderful replica of the original Gračanica monastery and among a number of Serbian people who came to revive their cultural heritage, the Program participants used to celebrate the Independence Day with other members of the Serbian community in Chicago. Those were the real social highlites of the Summer Program.
On a regular basis, Mr. Nestor Jovanović and his wife Mrs. Persida Jovanović also used to invite the Program participants to their home for barbecue dinners. Mr. Jovanović was Vice-President of Special Operations at Komatsu Dresser Co. and President of the Board in the same company; Mrs. Jovanović was an industrial engineer, working at Siemens. In their house, surrounded with trees, a traditional Serbian barbecue has been prepared every year. Each time, Mr. Jovanović used to make his very popular speech in which he gave examples from his own experience in the US and compared the psychologies of the “Old” and “New” worlds. There were always a lot of “take home” messages, and his fatherly advices were much appreciated by the students from Yugoslavia.
Long-time hosts in the Summer Program were also Mr. Borislav Bošković and his wife Mrs. Cica Bošković. Mr. Boskovic is a prolific inventor and he and his wife have been gracious hosts for the Summer Programs for years. These wonderful people started their life in America from zero and managed to make their dreams come true. One of those is a magnificient manor type house where hosts invited the Program participants for memorable barbecues which usually ended as a swimming party in their large indoor swimming pool.
Among the great, enhusiastic supporters of the Summer Program were also Mrs. Taja Dragišić, and her husband Dr Branko Dragišić, an anesthesiologist. With their colleagues and friends they organized dinners at restaurants for the participants of the Program several times. Among the colleagues were: Dr Ivan Ćirić, professor of neurosurgery at Northwestern University and his wife Hanelora, Dr Puniša Leković, a gynecologist and his wife Pixie, as well as Dr Ilija Srećković, an urologist and his wife Tejka. Apart from organizing dinners for the Program participants in the restaurants, Drs. Ćirić, Leković and Srećković also hosted students from Yugoslavia for memorable picnics on the lawns of their homes in Chicago subburbs.