RPCV support

  • Danielle Montecalvo posted an article
    Ellen (RPCV: Nicaragua 2013-15) is pursuing her M.A. at SIT in Sustainable Development. see more

    SIT Graduate Institute Scholarships

    Academic scholarships allow NPCA members to pursue master’s degrees in international programs through SIT Graduate Institute. Members of the NPCA who have one year or more of significant Peace Corps experience are eligible to apply for this $10,000 scholarship. The RPCV Scholars who have come from this program have gone on to do amazing things beyond their master's degree and continue building on the impact of their Peace Corps service. 

    NPCA members can request information regarding this exclusive scholarship opportunity at 800-336-1616 or 802-258-3510, or on the SIT Graduate Institute web site.

    Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ellen graduated from The Ohio State University with a BA in International Development and minors in Spanish and Latin American studies. While at Ohio State, she received the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship to further pursue her studies of Latin America and the Quechua Language. Her desire to begin a career in international development, improve her foreign language skills, and meaningfully engage with a culture different than her own, led her to join the Peace Corps after she completed her degree from The Ohio State University in 2013.

    Ellen served in Nicaragua from 2013-2015 as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Volunteer in the city of Boaco where she trained teachers to incorporate communicative teaching methods in their classrooms and improve their English language skills. In addition to teacher training, she co-taught with two teachers to over 500 public high school students. She also co-taught a group of 23 high school students who received a scholarship to study in the Access program, established by the US Department of State and administered by the United States Embassy in Nicaragua. As an Access teacher, she taught English as well as American culture, leadership, community service and life skills. She also worked as a counselor for the 2014 National Access Camp and coordinated the 2015 National Access Camp. Aside from her primary project, Ellen also pursued secondary projects including various camps; a national youth leadership camp and a girls’ soccer camp focused on healthy lifestyles and HIV/AIDS. She also collaborated with a local women's cooperative in Santa Lucia, Boaco to diversify their product base and income by incorporating a beekeeping project to their already established tree and flower cooperative.  

    After her service, Ellen worked briefly as the Staff Director at Camp Akita in Logan, Ohio and then moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a Masters at SIT in Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management with a focus on Monitoring and Evaluation. She will graduate in August of this year. Ellen was drawn to the program because of her experience working with SIT alumni at Ohio State and because of its practitioner focus and the access to networks that a school in D.C. provides.

    While at SIT, she has had the opportunity to build a skill set in monitoring and evaluation, which she feels is crucial to a career in development. This January, she traveled to Ahmedabad, India with SIT to gain hands on experience in monitoring and evaluation and she just finished a three-month practicum at Youth for Understanding in Washington, DC. Ellen was responsible for the creation and oversight of data collection, analytics and reporting for the Kakehashi project, funded by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and also worked with the Quality Assurance team to improve YFU's evaluation methods. Ellen has gained valuable experience, working in a multi-cultural setting and has further developed her project management and evaluation skills. She is grateful for the opportunity to study at an institution like SIT through the NPCA scholarship and values this opportunity for future RPCVs because it is “volunteers helping volunteers.”

    After graduating from SIT, Ellen intends to pursue a career in evaluation to help organizations, agencies and individuals understand the impact of their projects, and to create improved methods of evaluation to guide their programming and initiatives.

    Learn more about how NPCA supports Returned Peace Corps Volunteers  here.

  • Danielle Montecalvo posted an article
    Alyssa (RPCV: Costa Rica 2013-15) is pursuing her MA at SIT in Sustainable Development. see more

    SIT Graduate Institute Scholarships

    Academic scholarships allow NPCA members to pursue master’s degrees in international programs through SIT Graduate Institute. Members of the NPCA who have one year or more of significant Peace Corps experience are eligible to apply for this $10,000 scholarship. The RPCV Scholars who have come from this program have gone on to do amazing things beyond their master's degree and continue building on the impact of their Peace Corps service. 

    NPCA members can request information regarding this exclusive scholarship opportunity at 800-336-1616 or 802-258-3510, or on the SIT Graduate Institute web site.

     

    Originally from Portland, Oregon, Alyssa graduated from Southern Oregon University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. After graduation, she briefly worked at an orphanage in La Ceiba, Honduras and for the following two years as a residential counselor for at-risk youth at St. Mary’s Home for Boys in Beaverton, Oregon.

    Alyssa served in Peace Corps Costa Rica from 2013-2015 as a Youth Development volunteer. She lived in an impoverished town in the mountains of the central valley and worked in the elementary and high schools as well as with several civil society groups. She worked with elementary school students on life skills including leadership and goal setting; she also worked with adults in conflict resolution, family, race & ethnicity, and diversity & inclusion workshops. She also taught English in schools with a wide age-range of students.

    While she was serving, she first heard of SIT from the Director of Programming and Training for Costa Rica as well as from a friend who was completing her practicum through Masters International with the Peace Corps. Because of SIT’s focus on international experience and experiential learning in the workplace, Alyssa knew the program was the ideal fit.

    A year after returning from the Peace Corps, Alyssa moved to D.C. to pursue her Master’s in Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management, with a focus on social innovation and entrepreneurship. With the help of the scholarship that she received from NPCA, she believes that “[her] personal and professional opportunities have expanded in a new way.” She recently completed her practicum at the Institute for Inclusive Security where she focuses on monitoring & evaluation. Her projects have involved M&E systems as well as evaluation frameworks and training materials related to national action plans for women in peace and security. Alyssa recently visited Jordan on a field study to examine several social enterprises, and mission-driven organizations in the government, private sector and civil society. Being an RPCV and a student at SIT has changed her path; “my focus has become more global.”

    After graduating from SIT, Alyssa intends to pursue a career in the non-profit sector focusing on human rights in global development and international policy. She is interested in working for an international organization involving humanitarian work concentrated in international policy and advocacy. 

    Learn more about how NPCA supports Returned Peace Corps Volunteers  here.

  • Danielle Montecalvo posted an article
    Ursula (RPCV: Costa Rica 2012-14) is pursuing her MA in Sustainable Development at SIT. see more

    SIT Graduate Institute Scholarships

    Academic scholarships allow NPCA members to pursue master’s degrees in international programs through SIT Graduate Institute. Members of the NPCA who have one year or more of significant Peace Corps experience are eligible to apply for this $10,000 scholarship. The RPCV Scholars who have come from this program have gone on to do amazing things beyond their master's degree and continue building on the impact of their Peace Corps service. 

    NPCA members can request information regarding this exclusive scholarship opportunity at 800-336-1616 or 802-258-3510, or on the SIT Graduate Institute web site.

    Originally from Seattle Washington, Ursula was exposed to the Peace Corps and international curiosity at a young age. Her parents served in the U.S. AmeriCorps and her older brother served in the Peace Corps in Morocco. In college, Ursula studied abroad in Spain, South Africa, and Jamaica in programs that are geared toward students with a serious academic interest in gaining international experience. Ursula received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington with a major in Medical Anthropology and a minor in International Relations with a focus in Latin America. Through the exposure from her family and rigorous international academics, she knew that Peace Corps would be the ideal fit.

    Ursula served in Costa Rica from 2012 to 2014 in a variety of capacities. Initially, she served on the border town on the Caribbean coast for one year as a Youth and Development volunteer in Sixaola Talamanca. After one year, Ursula moved to La Vigia, Guanacaste. In La Vigia, she helped build the community’s basketball court, supervised nutrition classes at the Children Infant Center, established two community gardens for environmental sustainability, and led English classes and sports camps to enhance youth development. Additionally, Ursula was part of the diversity committee that led panels and trainings for volunteers and staff.

    After returning from the Peace Corps, Ursula began working at Teen Feed where she became the Volunteer manager for the organization. At Teen Feed, she utilized her Spanish skills while preparing and serving meals to youth victims of homelessness. On the weekends, she volunteered with a local arts organization and took part in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group for Seattle as the Communications Chair. After one year, Ursula moved to D.C. where she pursued her Master’s at SIT in Sustainable Development: International Management and Policy with concentrations in monitoring & evaluation and social innovation. SIT’s focus on experimental learning and field-experience captivated Ursula’s interest. Throughout her time at SIT, she gained writing skills in ethnographies for her anthropology background and tangible workplace skills from the Peace Corps that have been applicable to her practicum in D.C. Her monitoring and evaluation fellowship at Vital Voices Global Partnership correlates with her coursework at SIT. The cross-communication skills that she has acquired from the Peace Corps and SIT have helped Ursula develop her personal growth in an academic and professional setting. She is grateful for the opportunity to study at SIT through the NPCA scholarship because she believes that SIT wants their students to be successful and does so by teaching them the tangible skills that they need to be confident in the workplace.

    After graduating SIT, Ursula is interested in working in the private or federal sector to try something different from her previous experience in the nonprofit sector. She intends to work in program development and design and risk mitigation around food systems and urban development where her passions about intersecting ideas, disciplines, and sectors are emphasized.

    Learn more about how NPCA supports Returned Peace Corps Volunteers  here.

  • Danielle Montecalvo posted an article
    Taylor Westfall (RPCV: Costa Rica 2012-15) is pursuing her MA at SIT in Sustainable Development. see more

    SIT Graduate Institute Scholarships

    Academic scholarships allow NPCA members to pursue master’s degrees in international programs through SIT Graduate Institute. Members of the NPCA who have one year or more of significant Peace Corps experience are eligible to apply for this $10,000 scholarship. The RPCV Scholars who have come from this program have gone on to do amazing things beyond their master's degree and continue building on the impact of their Peace Corps service. 

    NPCA members can request information regarding this exclusive scholarship opportunity at 800-336-1616 or 802-258-3510, or on the SIT Graduate Institute web site.

    Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Taylor grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and got her BA in History and Political Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her aspirations for travel and international curiosity were sparked when she interned in South Africa for a summer and studied abroad in Turkey for a semester during her undergraduate career. Having this exposure and excitement for international experience, Taylor decided that Peace Corps would be the ideal fit in her professional development.

    Taylor served in Costa Rica from 2012-2015 as an English teacher and trainer volunteer. She lived in a small fishing village where she taught English in schools and community courses. Additionally, she worked with the community to teach two month-long English camps for 20 rising high school students, providing the opportunity to enhance their English and build friendships before the school year begins. The "Jumpstart" camps became more and more popular across Costa Rica, prompting Taylor to stay a third year as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer to mentor and train other partners to teach camps across the country, growing the program from 20 camps in 2014 to 37 camps in 2015. The students, parents, Costa Rican teachers and other Peace Corps Volunteers enriched the lives of so many through these camps which are still thriving.

    After returning from the Peace Corps, Taylor moved to D.C. to pursue a Master’s in Sustainable Development: International Management and Policy with concentrations in monitoring & evaluation and social innovation. Taylor chose SIT as a school that valued a diverse student body, highlighted practitioners as teachers, and had additional opportunities for study abroad. During her time at SIT, Taylor interned for a year with World Learning in their inclusive development sector. Through her practicum, she gained real-world experience that complimented her service in the Peace Corps. She traveled to India for a two-week course with SIT and then to Myanmar for an additional two weeks with World Learning to facilitate workshops on inclusive programming. For her capstone paper, Taylor developed a tool that would help organizations assess and evaluate their own capacity for an inclusive environment. Taylor is grateful to receive the NPCA scholarship because it gave her the opportunity to study at an institution that valued diversity and a tangible workplace education.

    After graduating, Taylor briefly interned at UNHCR (United Nations High Commission on Refugees) before starting with Department of State. She now is a program analyst, using her monitoring and evaluation track to assess programs overseas. SIT was a transformative year which not only strengthened her technical skills, but deepened her capacity as a team member through constant cross cultural communication.

     Learn more about how NPCA supports Returned Peace Corps Volunteers  here.

  • Danielle Montecalvo posted an article
    Rebecca (RPCV: Philippines 2012-15) is currently at SIT pursuing an M.A. in Sustainable Development. see more

    SIT Graduate Institue Scholarships

    Academic scholarships allow NPCA members to pursue master’s degrees in international programs through SIT Graduate Institute. Members of the NPCA who have one year or more of significant Peace Corps experience are eligible to apply for this $10,000 scholarship. The RPCV Scholars who have come from this program have gone on to do amazing things beyond their master's degree and continue building on the impact of their Peace Corps service. 

    NPCA members can request information regarding this exclusive scholarship opportunity at 800-336-1616 or 802-258-3510, or on the SIT Graduate Institute web site.

    Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, Rebecca completed her Undergraduate degree at Old Dominion University with a BS in Communications focusing on children and family. While she was in school, she worked at the YMCA and babysat for local families, both of which had influential individuals who previously served in the Peace Corps. Because of these mentors, Peace Corps was the ideal fit in her professional career.

    Rebecca served in the Philippines from 2012-2015 as a Child Youth and Family Volunteer. During her first two years, she lived in a densely populated urban community where she worked at an international children organization. In her final year, she served as a volunteer leader for the organization. Throughout her service, she heard about the School of International Training (SIT) through other Peace Corps volunteers who also graduated from the institution.

    After her service in the Peace Corps, Rebecca moved to DC where she is currently pursuing a Master’s in Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management with a focus on monitoring & evaluation. SIT’s Peace Corps friendly curriculum and interest in global development immediately captivated Rebecca’s interest into the program. Because of the scholarship she received from NPCA, Rebecca “felt valued by SIT as an RPCV to pursue a higher education.” She is currently interning for the Peace Corps Agency as her practicum for the program. She works with the overseas staff training and country directors that represent different Peace Corps program posts. Rebecca has gained valuable experiences with her exposure to the Peace Corps Agency and the international development community outside of Peace Corps. The cross-communication skills that she has acquired from the Peace Corps and SIT have helped Rebecca develop her personal growth in an academic and professional setting.

    After graduation from SIT, Rebecca intends on pursuing a career with a mission-driven organization that aligns with her values. She is interested in working in the field living overseas in the U.S. federal sector.

     Learn more about how NPCA supports Returned Peace Corps Volunteers  here.

  • Danielle Montecalvo posted an article
    Marcus (RPCV: El Salvador 2006-11) completed his MA in Sustainable Development at SIT. see more

     SIT Graduate Institute Scholarships

    Academic scholarships allow NPCA members to pursue master’s degrees in international programs through SIT Graduate Institute. Members of the NPCA who have one year or more of significant Peace Corps experience are eligible to apply for this $10,000 scholarship. The RPCV Scholars who have come from this program have gone on to do amazing things beyond their master's degree and continue building on the impact of their Peace Corps service. 

    NPCA members can request information regarding this exclusive scholarship opportunity at 800-336-1616 or 802-258-3510, or on the SIT Graduate Institute web site.

    Originally from Seattle, Washington, Marcus received his BA in International Relations and Spanish from the University of the Pacific in central California. His first encounter with Peace Corps Volunteers was during his internship overseas for a University of the Pacific alumnus in Paraguay with a focus on microfinance. Because of his interest in gaining international technical skills, desire to improve his Spanish, and aspirations to travel, Marcus decided to join the Peace Corps after completing his undergraduate degree and working in Seattle until 2005.

    Marcus served in El Salvador from 2006 to 2009 focusing on agroforestry and agriculture education. During his service, he implemented a food and agricultural food security pilot project with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which worked with local farmers on practical trainings on composting piles, sampling plantings, demonstration plots, reduced cost inputs, agroecology practices, and advocating for reforestation campaigns.

    After his service in the Peace Corps, Marcus worked for Partners of the Americas in D.C. for six months then went back to El Salvador for another three years to work at a local non-profit organization. Because SIT helps facilitate RPCVs back into the workplace and increases one’s exposure to global perspectives, he was immediately drawn to the program. When Marcus returned to D.C., he pursued a Master’s in Sustainable Development and International Policy and Management with a focus on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. He completed his practicum at Save the Children in their Department of Emergency Response, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption unit, where he utilized his Peace Corps skills in sustainable development and adaptability in different environments. His opportunity to attend SIT through NPCA scholarship has allowed him to gain exposure to a new level in the international development industry.

    After graduating from SIT, Marcus started working for the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA), the institution that helped found CARE International in 1945 (Cooperatives for American Remittances to Europe). Currently, he is a program manager supporting projects in Latin America that support networking for the coffee producing cooperatives/organizations with technical assistance, market linkages, and financing to combat the coffee leaf rust fungus. Two projects he manages are U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded to coffee production in El Salvador and improve beef and dairy exports in the Dominican Republic. Another project he oversees links U.S.-Cuban Cooperative leaders in an Exchange Program for Cooperative Leaders. In these positions, Marcus utilizes his knowledge of microfinance, Spanish, and agriculture to boost the success of these programs. Long term, he is interested in pursuing a project overseas where he can be on the ground doing work to better the local and global community.

    Learn more about how NPCA supports Returned Peace Corps Volunteers  here.

  • Megan Patrick posted an article
    Remarkable 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!

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Read about one person working to provide support to the Peace Corps community. see more

    I am Sandi Giver and I know firsthand how vital a support network is for individuals who have experienced injustices.

    I am a data point along a data set of others who were sexually assaulted while serving our country as a Peace Corps Volunteer. RPCV survivors like myself face the typical challenges of readjustment after service such as finding employment, housing, and next steps. Combine that with additional challenges such as physical or mental health issues, ongoing legal cases, feelings of isolation or difficulty connecting with others. Life at times can seem very overwhelming and as if in a constant crisis mode.

    Thankfully, it doesn't have to stay that way. As RPCVs, we have a rich community that can provide a network of resources and support to RPCV survivors as they continue their healing journey. 

    For myself, I was able to connect with individuals I had met during medevac to help with some basic needs: an RPCV Benin friend provided a place to stay for a month; an RPCV therapist was able to connect me to an individual who had a part time contract job that worked around my legal case and other obligations; other RPCVs became my adopted family where I felt accepted and belonged.

    I know firsthand the generosity and compassion that RPCVs are willing to give. Our service to others did not stop when we COS'ed- now, we need RPCVs to serve and support each other. Through conversations with fellow RPCV survivors, I realized that as a community we can do more. Oftentimes, individuals RPCV survivors interacted with were unaware of what support was needed or tangible ways they could make an impact. 

    As a social work graduate student, I sought out NPCA and Glenn to see if there was a more formal way I could pay forward the support I received and explore ways to get others involved.  I was attracted to NPCA's goal of helping members and affiliate groups thrive, helping them fulfill their potential together.

    By creating a more formal RPCV support network, we are committing to support RPCVs where they are to help them thrive. We can be the connectors to support and resources that they need.

    If you are as passionate about supporting others as I am, please email advocfellow@peacecorpsconnect.org so we can see where you fit. 

    If you are a survivor or friend and are aware of support gaps, please provide info on what support types should be on our radar.

    If you want to support RPCV survivors in a financial way, please make a financial contribution to the benevolence fund: Click Here

    As RPCVs, we have a lot to offer. Please join me and others as we commit to support our fellow RPCVs.