August Featured Advocate – Eliot Cresswell
By Jonathan Pearson on Friday, August 9th, 2013
This past July, with Peace Corps Connect – Boston being less than a three-hour drive away, several leaders of the RPCVs of Northeastern New York (NENY) took advantage of the close proximity to connect and engage with other members of the Peace Corps community.
“(We) were pleasantly surprised with the variety and quality of the workshop offerings,” said group President Eliot Cresswell (Morocco 2000-02). One of the June 29th workshops Eliot and Vice President Sara Poggi participated in was a prep session for upcoming congressional district advocacy meetings. “(We) attended the advocacy workshop looking for a way to get our members involved and to speak out on behalf of Peace Corps.”
Fast forward six weeks to the present. Eliot and other members of the Albany-area group are busy reaching out to local representatives. Five congressional districts touch on the group’s coverage area, and so far they are closing in on meetings with three members of the House of Representatives.
Eliot believes it is imperative for the Peace Corps community apply its resources to make sure the agency can continue its mission of volunteer outreach and cultural diplomacy. “It is important that Peace Corps be able to respond to the evolving needs of its staff, its host country partners, and the volunteer community,” he said. “Since Peace Corps is a federal agency, it can’t advocate on its own behalf. So it’s up to the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and its affiliate groups to help Peace Corps continue to fulfill its mission.”
Eliot praised the NPCA advocacy team for its support. “The research (they) have done allows us to understand current Peace Corps-related issues and the most effective ways to discuss them. NPCA’s support makes it very easy for us to reach out to our membership in upstate New York and encourage them to get involved.”
The praise is reciprocal. Great thanks to President Eliot Cresswell and all the members of the RPCVs of NENY, who like many others around the country, have energetically responded to the call for local advocacy in August and September to further build awareness and support for the Peace Corps and the broader Peace Corps community.