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'We need a party': This Peoria transplant wants to meet other newcomers Friday in Donovan Park

David Jackson Ghana
Hannah Alani
David Jackson is the communications manager for the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council.

After working unfulfilling jobs in Las Vegas during most of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghanaian immigrant David Jackson stumbled upon a job listing on Indeed.

The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council needed a communications manager. Sight-unseen and knowing nothing about Peoria, Jackson applied.

"My gut was like, 'Peoria,'" he said. "I felt like it was small and developing ... you can be part of something big in a small place like Peoria."

While it was an economic and career-boosting opportunity that initially drew him to Peoria, Jackson says he couldn't imagine living anywhere else. Now he wants to share his love for Peoria with others.

This weekend, Jackson is helping the GPEDC with the "Peoria Transplant Party" from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cyd's in the Park in Donovan Park.

Angie Ostaszewski of "Angie's Listings" is hosting the party — the second of its kind this year — and planning activities and ice breakers for guests to get to know each other.

Local organizations comprising the Greater Peoria 2030 campaign are donating food. There will be a bonfire and marshmallow roasting.

While Jackson looks forward to meeting fellow transplants, he hopes lifelong residents feel welcome to show up, too.

"We need a party," he said. "I know there's a need for other people to connect with other people. On the surface there might not be a lot of entertainment activities for you to do in Peoria. But I have realized ... finding your tribe is important."

Party hosts ask those who attend be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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