2022 Winners: RPCV Alliance for Ukraine, the Friends of Moldova, and Partnering for Peace
The 2022 Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding Community Service honored three groups that worked together to support the people of Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022: the RPCV Alliance for Ukraine, the Friends of Moldova, and Partnering for Peace. The award was presented at NPCA’s Annual General Membership Meeting (AGMM) on September 24.
They were one of three finalists who created and presented videos to showcase their nominated projects at the 2022 Affiliate Group Network Annual Meeting (AGNAM) in August. Their work supporting refugees from Ukraine and helping those in harm’s way shows how time and again Volunteers show a commitment to Peace Corps ideals in a time of crisis. Watch the award-winning project video here.
2021 Winners: Peace Corps Community for Refugees
Peace Corps Community for Refugees is this year’s recipient for its outstanding advocacy for refugees during the current Afghanistan crisis, as well as its continued resettlement work in Greece and Mexico and its efforts to educate the public on refugee support. The affiliate group began with five initial members in 2016 and has grown to more than 1,200 members in the Peace Corps community.
The group works in three main areas. Through education, they seek to inform others about issues pertaining to refugees through stories and educational resources. Through resettlement support, they connect interested volunteers with NGOs serving refugee communities. Through advocacy, they work on behalf of refugees at the national, state, and local level.
This year’s award was presented on September 23 at Peace Corps Connect, a 60th anniversary conference for the Peace Corps Community. The award was announced by film and television writer Katherine Ruppe, the daughter of Loret Miller Ruppe.
The award was accepted on behalf of Peace Corps Community for Refugees by Barbara Busch, team leader for overseas action for Peace Corps Community for Refugees. As she noted, this year’s work has involved important collaboration with NPCA affiliate group Friends of Afghanistan, which has provided leadership in joint advocacy for SIV Afghan evacuation and planning for resettlement support. In accepting the award, Barbara Busch reminded audience members that the work in front of them is growing: advocating for Afghans still left behind; the crisis at the border for Haitian asylum seekers; and the looming crisis of climate migrants.
2020 Winners: Friends of Korea and Friends of Tonga
Friends of Korea was established to foster connections between people in U.S. and Korea — and between Korean-American communities stateside and wider communities. The group has also sought to foster cultural awareness and cultivate philanthropy. In 2016, Friends of Korea started the Project “Study Guide to Accompany The Korean Transformation,” an easy-to-use manual for educators and workshop facilitators to use when teaching about the dramatic economic, social, and political development of Korea.
The main purpose of the Study Guide was to promote a better understanding to the American public of the dramatic story of modern-day Korea’s development. In addition to the activities devoted to the story of Korea, the guide purposely included “extension” activities so that students can understand about the diversity in their local community, the Peace Corps and community service, and transformative learning — all of which lend themselves to the development of group spirit, cooperation, and the inclination to serve. The guide also helps Friends of Korea to stay connected with the country where they served by spreading one unique story in particular: Korea is the first Peace Corps partner country in the world to launch its own government-funded overseas volunteer service corps, “World Friends Korea.”
Friends of Tonga designed and implemented a pen pal exchange program between schools in the United States and Tonga. Teachers are provided with a pen pal guide that gives an overview of the program and its process. When possible, a Friends of Tonga representative has gone to participating schools to introduce both Tonga and the project to the teachers and students. When Friends of Tonga is unable to deliver a presentation in person, slideshows have been created for both Tongan and U.S. teachers to orient their students to the other culture.
This program enhances literacy rates in Tonga, raises awareness of Tonga and its people, and has increased event participation and donations. “This project is extremely replicable!” note Friends of Tonga. Partners are provided with guidance and an orientation PowerPoint deck to present to classes, digitally. All of these resources can be found online.