Why We Support the National Peace Corps Association: The Dixons
By Guest Contributor on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
The Dixons are a Peace Corps family. Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962-1964) served at the same time as Kevin Dixon (Colombia 1962-1964). However it was only after their service that, as Kay describes it, “we realized we were social misfits, meant for each other.” They married in 1966 and two of their daughters — Karol Dixon (Nicaragua 1993 – 1995) and Kimberly Dixon (Niger 1995 to 1998) — also became Volunteers. The Dixons are strong supporters of the National Peace Corps Association. Here, Kay, explains why:
Two key concepts drive our support for the NPCA: advocacy and networking.
Being Peace Corps Volunteers in its very early years, we knew we viewed the world through a different lens. The spirit of Peace Corps and volunteerism are part of who we are. Two of our daughters completed Peace Corps service and our other two daughters also lead meaningful lives of volunteering and service to their communities.
For many years we were active in Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) activities in Massachusetts — home state of President Kennedy — where it was easy to identify with Peace Corps, and the value of the Peace Corps was well known. Our advocacy consisted mostly of thank you notes to our Congressional representatives and senators.
Relocating to be closer to our grandchildren in eastern Washington presented a different picture for us. Luckily, as we were touching down in Spokane, we met the president of the Inland Northwest Peace Corps Association (INPCA). What a joy to make this immediate connection to the local Peace Corps network. Finding new friends who shared our common interests created an instant connection!
Here, being a part of “Red Sox Nation” often gives us more stature than being an RPCV. So it is very important to meet with our Congressional representatives — to put a face on the Peace Corps, to remind them that Peace Corps Volunteers (past and present) reside in their districts. Who better to tell the Peace Corps story than PCVs? We strongly believe that in lobbying for our share of Federal budget resources and to work to ensure that the Peace Corps agency stays true to its spirit, goals and mission.
We also value the relationships maintained by our country of service of group. The Friends of Colombia (FOC) is a strong advocate for Peace Corps in Colombia.
From the 1960s and onward, Colombia hosted some of the original Peace Corps groups. It was with great sadness that Peace Corps programs ceased during Colombia’s years of violence and civil disorder in the 1980s. However, in 2008, the Colombian Ambassador, through the FOC, invited all former Colombia Peace Corps Volunteers to visit Colombia to observe first hand how the country is successfully overcoming its war on violence and drugs. What a thrill it was to spend an afternoon with President Alvaro Uribe and hear how the country has effectively come back from its era of terrible violence and drug wars; and in the following days, to meet new young leaders developing exciting national initiatives.
Once again, Peace Corps Volunteers are working in Colombia. We’d like to think that advocacy done by the FOC contributed to the Peace Corps re-entry to Colombia.
To learn more about the many ways you can support the National Peace Corps Association, visit our Contributing page. Or to make a donation online now, click here. Learn about NPCA’s recently launched Next Step Travel program here.