Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago(P.C.S.) is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization promoting education, good citizenship, community development, civic commitment and involvement, and preserving Punjabi Culture, language, sports and performing arts of the North-Indian state of Punjab among its community members and also mainstream Americans in the Midwest and beyond. PCS caters to this need both by directly organizing events that bring community members together from all over the Midwest region and by facilitating participation of its community members in mainstream activities. PCS has a holistic approach to community building and it's comprehensive programming encompasses a variety of aspects of community life and it's needs.
Rangla Punjab (Meaning "Colorful Punjab"), PCS' flagship event now in it's third decade, is held every April in time to celebrate the traditional harvest festival - Vaisakhi. It showcases local talent in Punjabi music, songs, dances, short plays and poetry. PCS volunteers teach the Punjabi dances - Bhangra and Giddha to teams who then compete against each other and perform for a packed community audience.
Punjabi Sports Festival is a community sports day, held in the summer. It is free of charge and helps promote concepts of healthy lifestyle and physical fitness. Competitions are held for kabaddi - a unique form of team wrestling born in Punjab, volleyball, basketball, soccer, track and field events, weight lifting and many other sports.
PCS Night is an annual dinner and dance event held in late fall. It features popular Punjabi entertainment artists and/or musical groups performing live on-stage. It is well loved by the community for bringing the distinctive Punjabi music with its heavy beats and foot-tapping numbers live to the people. The local community gets a taste of the state of the art performances from internationally known artists.
International Bhangra Competitionis an annual event held in late fall in conjunction with PCS Night. Competing teams form U.S. Canada and U.K. are invited to participate for lucrative prizes. It exposes the local youth and teams to an enhanced levels of art form and encourages a continuous improvement.
Art and Culture Exhibitions- PCS promotes Punjabi art and culture among mainstream population by holding exhibitions at various local village libraries, schools and colleges.
Youth Scholarships- In addition to these activities, PCS helps promote education among the youth by giving scholarships to college-going high school seniors or college freshmen based on their academic achievements and participation in Punjabi cultural activities.
Youth Seminars- It also works to bring successful community members and professionals from all walks of life to talk to the community youth as guest speakers or hold group discussions on topics of interest to the community for example parenting, stress management, leadership skills, and good citizenship values.
Catering to the Seniors- To improve the overall physical activity level of the community members, especially the seniors, PCS is working on organizing exercise classes at Palatine YMCA. This started out in conjunction with the "Vision in Progress" project of the villages of Palatine and Inverness. It also partners with AASA to host Seniors Tea Party - where seniors get-together to socialize. These meetings are held every Wed. 5-7 pm at Northeast Palatine Community Center.
Interaction with Other Organizations- PCS also works with other Indian and Asian American organizations to increase the visibility of the Punjabi community and to make meaningful contributions to the places that we live in. It co-sponsors the Asian American Coalition of Chicago's programs Lunar New Year Celebration Dinner Banquet, the Asian American Parade, and the Asian American Festival at Daley Plaza. PCS youth groups and adults participate to perform in Chicago Historical Society, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Children's Museum, Millennium Park, State Street Thanksgiving Day Parade, Village of Evanston, Village of Palatine, Carol Stream, Grayslake, Glendale Heights, City of Chicago festivals, Chicago Chinatown, Shedd Aquarium, White Sox Park, and state of Illinois celebrations.
One of the biggest challenges facing any immigrant population and its subsequent generations is to preserve and promote their heritage to strengthen common bonds. Punjabi community of Chicago area numbering about 10,000 is no different. As the community gradually grew in size in the early seventies, the volunteer efforts in these areas also increased. The likeminded ad-hoc groups working together since the early eighties were formally organized under Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago (PCS), which was registered under its present name in Illinois State in 1993. It was later approved as a 501 c (3) non-profit corporation. All the board members and officials are dedicated volunteers without any compensation.