Amanda Silva posted an articleBecoming a mission partner is more than a financial contribution, it's a continuation of service. see more
By Maricarmen Smith-Martinez (Costa Rica 2006-2008)
As Peace Corps Volunteers, our desire to impact our communities and effect positive change drives us to invest our time, our skills, and our passion. Providing guidance as a community leader, as a mentor, and as a friend, I impacted my community in Costa Rica in many ways. Back at home, the investment continues as the community grows. You can “close the service” of a Volunteer, but you can never take away our passion to serve.
As a Mission Partner of the NPCA, I know that my contributions support our larger Peace Corps community and allow us to increase our impact both at home and abroad. As a Shriver Circle member, I contribute my financial support, providing NPCA with the flexibility to employ it where it’s needed most. As an advocate, I share my Volunteer experience, encouraging Congress to build a bigger, better Peace Corps.
As the Coordinator of the Affiliate Group Network (AGN) on the NPCA Board, I partner with staff to enable our affiliate groups to thrive. Working with AGN leaders at the grassroots level, we identified necessary resources and developed a platform to provide better methods for groups to engage and connect. Our nearly 160 affiliate groups are always looking for tools to engage their membership, expand their reach, and increase their impact. As a result, we launched the Purpose-driven Group webinar series, enabling groups to build their capacity through best-practices on topics such as legal considerations or how to host a Story Slam. The webinar series also provides the opportunity to learn about NPCA benefits like SilkStart, the Community Builder platform that offers comprehensive technology for website and membership database management.
As a proud member of the Peace Corps community, I make an impact by continuing to serve.
Make your impact. Become a Mission Partner of the NPCA.
National Peace Corps Association posted an articleNews from the Peace Corps Community - November 2018. see more
Community News – Achievements of RPCVs
Author: Peter Deekle
Peter Hessler (1996-1998) was one of the eight Missouri Honor Medal recipients in 2018 for his distinguished service in journalism. His life and work in China generated four acclaimed books on that country’s culture.
Scott Coppa (2015-2017) teamed up with friends in Indiana after his Peace Corps service and founded Puente – a nonprofit organization making it easier for volunteer groups to pick a target area to work in and know exactly what that community is lacking, allowing them to preplan their projects.
Malcolm Velasco (2013-2015), a second-year medical student at Mercer University, received a Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine to conduct research in The Gambia in West Africa in summer 2018. He was one of 21 fellows selected this year from medical schools across the country. The Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine is awarded annually by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) to support medical students involved in clinical or research electives in tropical areas.
Matthew (Mateo) Peters (1999-2001), director of the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, met on October 10 at the Talbot County Free Library to discuss historical migration trends. ChesMRC strives to break down cultural barriers that arise from differences in language, appearance or ethnic traditions. It has assisted more than 2,000 immigrants and families.
Cymone Wilson (2016-2018) is continuing her in-country service through shipments of books to Jamaican libraries. She now works for Elevate K-12, an education technology company with a mission to make online learning accessible to students, regardless of socioeconomic status. She wants to help recruit more Peace Corps volunteers, especially minorities.
Sometimes the legacy of Peace Corps service inspires action long after that service has ended. Such is the case in a Liberian community of Gbamga where, in October 2018, the Garden School opened, sponsored by the family of an RPCV who served in the 1960s. Stephanie Vickers (1971-1973) said the donors were motivated to sponsor the construction of a local school following a training the U.S.-based group called the Friends of Liberia conducted for Liberian educators in early childhood education.
Beverly Sweet (1978-1983), Wellsville (NY) High School teacher of American History and Government, has been selected by the NYS Organization of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution as the statewide winner of the Outstanding Teacher of American History Award. She received her award on September 22, 2018.
Roy Cole (1975-1979) Last September, Cole, a professor of Geography and Sustainable Planning at GVSU, and his wife, Mary, were finalists in Michigan for the Governor’s Energy Excellence Award. This award honors organizations and individuals statewide for their commitment to responsible energy production and consumption. The Coles were nominated for the “Best Residential Projects” category in acknowledgement of the extensive work they have taken to conserve energy at home.
Kevin Bubriski (1975-1978) is a documentary photographer who recently published a new book, Mustang: In Black and White, inspired by a new collaboration with Sienna Craig (a Dartmouth associate professor) on Nepalese photography, culture and history.
Cornell College (Iowa) presented its Leadership and Service Award to Ken Patterson (1992-1995) in recognition of his global efforts to address extreme poverty and disease. Ken is the director of grassroots advocacy at RESULTS (an international organization working to end poverty across the globe).
Lisa Curtis (2010-2011) is founder of Kuli Kuli Foods, an energy bar, shot, and nutrition powder company made from the local moringa plant. In late summer 2018 the company earned a federal grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a foreign aid agency that focuses on helping countries find homegrown economic ways to fight poverty, in part to battle terrorism.
Maggie Fleming (2002-2004) was recognized with the Dr. Kenneth K Bateman Outstanding Alumni Award by Pittsburg State University in October 2018 for her international service. Following her Peace Corps service, she became a senior disaster operations specialist with the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance within the U.S. Agency for International Development and later on took on the role of deputy director of emergency response. Her current primary focus is an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
JM Ascienzo posted an articleThe Hiring Freeze, March Days of Action and More see more
Hiring freezes and the Peace Corps
On Monday President Trump signed an executive order to enact an across-the-board hiring freeze of federal employees, except for military personnel or for positions that meet national security or public health needs. The Office of Management and Budget has since offered guidance on the directive, with more information still trickling out.
In a White House memorandum announcing the freeze, OMB and the Office of Personnel Management are charged with enacting a long-term strategy "to reduce the size of the Federal Government's workforce through attrition."
Peace Corps is working with OPM and OMB to get additional guidance as it relates to the agency.
"I'm confident that the health and safety of Peace Corps Volunteers is the agency's top priority, and am confident that they will not compromise that principle," NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst said.
Mobilize! March National Days of Action Update
Events are already being planned across the country for NPCA's National Days of Action in support of the Peace Corps from March 3 to 15. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and supporters of the Peace Corps will be meeting with lawmakers at district offices, holding service days, happy hours and potlucks, all to urge Congress' support of the Peace Corps and Peace Corps values.
Help us meet our goal of 50 events and 500 participants. Find events near you and information on how to organize one today!
Peace Corps Semipostal Stamp
Want to get more private funds to Peace Corps Volunteer- and community-led projects? Ask Congress to support the bipartisan Peace Corps Semipostal Stamp! Congresswoman Barbara Lee's (D-CA) bill already has support from 21 lawmakers, but it needs more. Take two minutes and email Congress.
“The Peace Corps is an American institution which has helped foster global peace and cross-cultural understanding for decades," Congresswoman Lee told NPCA. "The creation of a Peace Corps stamp would be a fitting tribute to this remarkable organization. I encourage my colleagues to cosponsor this bipartisan bill, which would further our shared goal of advancing peace, friendship and sustainable development around the world.”
Want change at the local and national levels? Congress needs to hear from you. Call (202) 224-3121, and you'll be connected with your representatives' offices. Or send an action email. Congress won't know about the issues the Peace Corps community cares about unless we tell them.
Megan Patrick posted an articleRemarkable Ways Affiliate Groups Create Impact see more
by Michelle Laws
Peace Corps Volunteers’ dedication to service doesn’t disappear when they return home. Rather, it becomes enhanced. By joining an NPCA affiliate group, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers address issues like hunger, homelessness, education, and much more in both their local communities and abroad. Here are just a few of the phenomenal activities by our groups this year:
Magnolia State Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Though small in number, these RPCVs made a mighty impact in Mississippi with their first service project. Working with the Mississippi Food Network, they dedicated their time to gathering supplies for food banks around the state. After becoming an official NPCA affiliate group in 2016, they look forward to expanding their service and outreach projects in 2017.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Los Angeles
Every RPCV knows that the holidays can be bittersweet when far from loved ones. To make them a little cheerier for currently serving Volunteers, the group sends out care packages to those who request them. Filled with magazines, hard to find seasoning, and tasty snacks, PCVs around the world receive a little bit of “home away from home” with each package. December 10th, they sent out 42 packages and have 16 waiting to be filled: http://bit.ly/2ghVAFF
Columbia River Peace Corps Association
RPCVs in the Oregon and Washington area provide meals for those affected by homelessness. Every month, they work with the Oregon Food Bank to coordinate over 45 million pounds of food to reach those in need throughout the region. Volunteers repackage and sort donated items so that they can be delivered in an efficient and effective manner.
Cincinnati Area Returned Volunteers
Leading the wave of RPCVs interested in utilizing their unique talents to help incoming refugees, CARV members have been active for the past year assisting Catholic Charities in refugee resettlement. Over 30 members contributed directly to making new Americans welcome by teaching English, providing transportation to appointments, gardening, moving furniture, and helping to organize World Refugee Day festivities. CARV is also currently mentoring a Syrian family of six.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington D.C.
In November of this year, ten RPCV/W members gathered to reinforce trail corridors, repair trail structures, and remove invasive plant species on the Holly and Pine Trails in the city’s Rock Creek Park. Following this, another group of ten RPCV/W members distributed 75 plastic bags filled with assorted groceries to at-need residents of a senior living complex in Columbia Heights.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida
This holiday season RPCVSF members are remembering those most in need — children. Through various gift drives, they gathered children’s books in Spanish, English, and French as well as a variety of toys. Group members then delivered all donations to youth in foster care with Educate Tomorrow.
These groups, as well as many others around the country, create positive impact and strengthen their communities through service. They prove that people-to-people conversations, assistance, and outreach bring people together. Those of us at NPCA are proud of the hard work and commitment by RPCVs to Peace Corps ideals after service. It is this dedication that makes our community as vibrant as it is. Thank you for all you do!