Suzanne

The following statement from the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) was shared on Jan. 21, 2018.

NPCA President's Statement on President Trump's Remark On Foreign Countries
(On Friday, the National Peace Corps Association released the following statement in the aftermath of news reports pertaining to President Trump's Thursday comments on U.S. immigration policy)

Last week, National Peace Corps Association praised President Trump for his excellent nomination for Peace Corps Director. Today, however, we are obliged to take exception to the disparaging remarks apparently made in reference to the countries - and therein the citizens - which our Peace Corps community has embraced and adopted as our second homes.

Since 1961, nearly 90,000 Peace Corps Volunteers served – and continue to serve - nations in Africa. More than 500 served in Haiti, while nearly 2,500 volunteers served in El Salvador. What we know better than most through living and working side-by-side with the people of these countries is that the vast majority of them are overwhelmingly generous, highly resourceful, extremely hardworking and tremendously resilient. At the same time, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers regularly work with immigrant communities from these and other countries, and understand these traits – which are imported to our shores - strengthen the fabric and traditions of the uniquely American melting pot.

As our President and our policymakers conduct important deliberations on our nation’s immigration policies, let us raise up the level of discourse and debate. Let us bring the world home to America’s classrooms, civic groups and communities, doing our part to create a greater understanding of other people on the part of our own.

Friday, 29 December 2017 03:03

RPCVCO and Partners Welcome Ashley Bell

On Thursday, December 8, a reception was held for Ashley Bell, Peace Corps Associate Director of External Affairs. The reception was organized in partnership with the Global Livingston Institute and Partnering for Peace, the affiliate network group working to strengthen ties between Rotary and Peace Corps. Though Mr. Bell has been to Denver a few times since being named Associate Director of External Affairs, this reception was the first time there has been an opportunity to talk with him about the future of Peace Corps and how to further the partnership between Rotary and Peace Corps. Following a brief time to mix and mingle and words of introduction from the various co-hosts, Mr. Bell spoke for a while and responded to questions from the reception attendees.

Mr. Bell shared some details about his background, including that he is a Rotarian, former small business owner, and lawyer. With a passion for volunteering, he expressed his understanding and appreciation for the commitment to service held by Peace Corps Volunteers. He recognized the power of RPCVS to promote and keep the iconic Peace Corps program going. In response to questions about the future of Peace Corps, Mr. Bell shared that there is strong support for Peace Corps in Congress, but it will be important for every PCV, RPCV, and Peace Corps friends and family members to talk to members of Congress about the important of the program. Peace Corps is currently going through a "right sizing", with staff positions in D.C. not being filled in order to direct funding directly to the countries served by Peace Corps. If there can be an increase in the number of volunteers, that might lead to increases in the number of D.C.-based staff in the future.

In response to questions about how to further the Peace Corps and Rotary partnership, he shared that these organizations with "such similar DNA" have only scratched the surface of the possibilities for partnership. In his role with Peace Corps, Mr. Bell shared that there is "nothing more important every day than supporting volunteers in the field" and the connection to resources such as Rotary is one way to provide this support.  He encouraged attendees to become in involved Rotary Clubs and seek out opportunities to partner at the local level. This includes seeking out local Peace Corps staff with a connection to Rotary in the countries served by Peace Corps. This is seen as a way to demonstrate there is grassroots support for this partnership.

 

 

We're excited to announce that Barbara Kaare-Lopez was honored with the 2017 Outstanding Returning Peace Corps Volunteer award, which was given as part of the Governor's Service Awards, presented by Serve Colorado, on September 7, 2017. Barbara served in Honduras from 1978 to 1980. She was nominated by the board as her "outgoing personality and compassionate naturre has allowed her to connect with and make a difference in many people's lives over the years."

Barbara Kaare-Lopez, 2nd from right, with the 2017 Governor's Service Awards recipients Barbara Kaare-Lopez, 2nd from right, with the 2017 Governor's Service Awards recipients

This is the fourth year that RPCVs were honored during the Governor’s Service Awards. Along with the Outstanding Returning Peace Corps Volunteer award, the following individuals and organizations were also honored for their service to others:

  • Outstanding Volunteer: Dan Dennie
  • Outstanding Veteran Volunteer: John Vaught
  • Outstanding Community Leader: Tom and Corrine Carrigan
  • Outstanding Nonprofit Organization: Book Trust
  • Outstanding AmeriCorps State/National Member: Nicolas Sablan
  • Outstanding AmeriCorps VISTA Member: Vanessa Moore
  • Outstanding AmeriCorps NCCC Member: Julie Vang
  • Outstanding Senior Corps Volunteer: Betty Clark
  • Outstanding AmeriCorps Alumni: David Ari Collins
  • Outstanding Returning Peace Corps Volunteer: Barbara Kaare-Lopez

You can read more about each award recipient here.

Know someone who should be nominated in 2018? Let us know!

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 22:17

Governor's Proclamation for 2017 PCC

Governor Hickenlooper proclaimed the period between August 4 and August 6 as Peace Corps Connect Days in celebration of the 2017 Peace Corps Connect conference. The proclamation was delivered by Jamie Van Leeuwen, Senior Advisor with in Governor Hickenlooper's office, on Friday, August 4 and presented to attendees of the Affiliate Group Network Annual Meeting (AGNAM). The proclamation was then displayed throughout the conference near the registration table.

Governor's Proclamation for 2017 PCC

Saturday, 15 July 2017 16:03

Meet Our Social Enterprise Finalists!

The finalists have been chosen! Meet the six RPCV teams who will compete  in Partnering for Prosperity, a social entrepreneurship competition, hosted by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado (RPCVCO), which will occur during Peace Corps Connect this August. This competition showcases work in our Peace Corps community that exemplifies  partnership and collaboration and impacts the world around us. Click HERE to find out how to attend the conference and see this competition live!

THE FINALISTS

Peaceful Fruits
Evan Delahanty, RPCV Suriname (2011-13)
Peaceful Fruits makes healthy, delicious, rainforest-friendly snacks!  Founded by a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Peaceful Fruits partners with local communities in the Amazon to harvest sustainable, ethically-sourced fruit. We then bring that fruit to Northeast Ohio, where we employ people with disabilities in full wage jobs to make our products. Organic, 100% fruit, and literally made by hand with love, Peaceful Fruits is in tune with what modern snackers want.  

After a successful pilot in 2016 and a recent well-received appearance on ABC's Shark Tank, Peaceful Fruits is on track to do $400K in sales this year and we are raising funding to scale up production and sales. The words we live by are, "Eat better for a better world." www.peacefulfruits.com
 
Bokk Baby
Margaret Davidson - RPCV Senegal (2012-14) and Danny White - RPCV Senegal (2012-14)
Bokk Baby, founded by two RPCVs, is an e-commerce social enterprise launching in Fall 2017 that retails sustainably made baby apparel, blankets, and signature gift boxes. Our apparel is manufactured in Denver, Colorado using eco-friendly, organic textiles, and our gift boxes for Mom & Baby include return shipping labels, so parents can donate gently used baby clothing and blankets back to us. We package donated items into gift bundles and distribute them to new mothers in rural Senegal in partnership with local community health workers. Textile manufacturing is the second-most polluting industry in the world, and Bokk Baby helps to reduce waste at the production level and encourage recycling. “Bokk” means “to share” in Wolof, and sharing is at the root of what we do; we all share the same planet, and every baby is born to make a difference.

Friends of ENCA Farm
Sherry Manning - RPCV Philippines (2006-08) and Carrie Evans - RPCV Philippines (1985-88)
Friends of ENCA Farm is helping Filipino farmers access the seeds to their future. More than 2 billion people in the world, including the majority of the Philippines, relies on food that is produced from smallholder farmers, which is defined as those who farm less than 2 hectares. However, today, the majority of the world’s seeds are not owned by farmers but by three major bio-chemical companies. Friends of ENCA Farm has launched a grassroots farmer-led seed saving movement in the Philippines and is now ready to help our participating farmers develop a farmer-led owned and operated social-enterprise organic seed company. This project will ensure that greater numbers of smallholder farmers have access to locally produced, regionally adapted organic seeds and will provide increased economic development for the participating farmers. To learn more please visit us at: www.encaorganicfarm.com.
 
Messages in Bottles
Michael Dirks - RPCV Vanuatu (2005-07)
Social entrepreneurship can help to engage national and international leaders on plastic waste and global ocean issues that really need some sustainable policy, life-cycle analysis and circular economy approaches to tackle the challenge. "Messages In Bottles," began as a small way to represent global water pollution generally (contaminants of concern, nutrients that create ocean dead zones, CO2 gas that accelerates ocean acidification, etc.) symbolized by plastic specifically and the footprint of non-recycled plastic waste in remote regions of the globe, as I observed as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Pacific. Half of the gift of "Messages In Bottles" is a fun one-for-one "makers" gift item. The other half of the gift is sent to congressional leaders and corporate leaders about the imperative to "think globally" on non-recycled plastic waste and many other environmental sustainability challenges. The "Partnering for Prosperity" award will help to grow this initiative into educational partnerships for creative problem solving with youth like with DAVA.org as well as extending the impact of environmental waterway "clean-up" efforts. Messages In Bottles will ultimately enable larger scale "recycling" partnerships where recycling, creativity and engineering can be built-in to multiple hands-on learning initiatives for youth and adults. Here is the website (work in progress):  https://thethirdarrow.wordpress.com/reuse-messages-in-bottles/
 
Microgrids in Uganda
Matthew Vanderwerken - RPCV Namibia (2012-14), Evan Fuellenbach, and Keni Herman
Our project is based on human centered research with the aim of creating a business plan to provide electricity in rural Uganda. Only 8% of the rural population in Uganda has access to electricity. People without a reliable source of electricity use unsafe methods such as kerosene that cause chronic respiratory and eye diseases. A solar microgrid system has the potential to provide rural populations with access to electricity that can be used for lighting and cell phone charging and eventually productive use. Meaning, Ugandans will not only be able to use light to read at night, but also to start their own business and create value for their families aiding in the development of their communities.
 
FarmRise
Justin Carter - RPCV Togo (2011-14), Caroline Smith, and Kira Griswold
Why do the smallholder farmers, who produce 80% of all food in developing countries, make up most the world’s hungry? Team FarmRise aims to improve food security within smallholder farmer communities by creating business linkages to enhance market access. Through our field research in Kenya, where 90% of production is performed by smallholder farmers, we have identified an opportunity to transform farming from a subsistence activity into a commercial enterprise. Our mission is to promote a sustainable value chain, whereby improved farming inputs lead to an increase in productivity, amplified by collective action, so farmers have the power to sell crops at competitive prices, allowing them to invest in their livelihoods.  Contact: Justin Carter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

THE AWARDS

Two awards will be giving out during this competition, including the Judge's Choice Award in honor of Sue Fox and the People's Choice award, which will be determined by audience voting. The Judge's Choice Award recognizes past Rotary - Peace Corps Alliance Chair and RPCV, Sue Fox, who served in Liberia from 1968-1970.

Judge's Choice Award in honor of Sue Fox

Through her efforts to establish a formal partnership between Rotary International and the U.S. Peace Corps, Sue Fox, who passed away in 2016, exemplified the goals of Peace Corps, Rotary, and building partnerships to create peace in the world. The formal agreement between the two organizations was finalized in May 2014 as a direct result of Sue’s hard work and determination. The partnership provides currently serving volunteers access to Rotary Club funding, subject matter expertise, and networks, to help fund Peace Corps partnership projects. Many of these projects provide local communities with an array of training and resource development assistance. In the first year of the agreement, thousands of dollars were given in support of volunteer projects across three pilot countries, Togo, Thailand, and Philippines, including the creation of a clean water initiative in Togo, a book distribution project in Thailand, and the construction of latrines and a learning center for students with disabilities in the Philippines. In addition, her work helped to connect currently serving volunteers with local Rotary Clubs in host countries, facilitating a better understanding of Americans among local host country Rotarians (over 650,000 worldwide) who are business and professional leaders in their communities. Lastly, Sue’s work in creating this partnership raised awareness among more than 450,000 Rotarians in America about the people in countries where PCVs serve, the work of currently serving volunteers, and the mission of Peace Corps.

The RPCVs of Colorado are proud to host this competition and provide this Judge's Choice award in Sue Fox's honor. 

THE DONORS
This competition wouldn't be possible without the support of our local community. The RPCVs of Colorado would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the Judge's Choice Award in honor of Sue Fox and our social entrepreneurship competition:

Platinum ($1000 and above)
The Denver Rotary Club Foundation

Gold ($500 to $999)
Denver LoDo Rotary Club
Highlands Ranch Rotary Foundation
Smith Family
Mike Touff

Silver ($250 to $499)
Anonymous
Valerie Hopkins
Charlie Miller

Friend ($249 and below)
Anonymous
Ted M. Bendelow
Terry and Shelda Burger
Patricia Fiske
Verne and Carol Anne Nelson

Meet Acting Director Sheila Crowley 

Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley will be a featured speaker at the Peace Corps Connect conference on Saturday, August 5, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Acting Director Crowley will join NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst in a "fireside chat" to talk about Peace Corps' priorities under her leadership and then present the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award.

Sheila Crowley has served as Acting Director of the Peace Corps since January 2017. She brings to that role more than 25 years of public and private-sector experience, including leadership roles in international development, business, and the financial services industry. Most recently, Sheila served from 2015 to 2017 as Acting Associate Director of Peace Corps’ Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection (VRS), overseeing the recruitment, assessment, and placement of Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide. Previously, she held the position of Peace Corps Country Director, first in Romania and then in Indonesia, from 2010 to 2015. Read the rest of Director Crowley's biography on the VIP Speakers section of the conference page.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 18:47

Get Your Ticket for the Kick-Off Party

The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado (RPCVCO) are partnering with the Posner Center to co-sponsor a Peace Corps Connect Kick-Off Party! Find out more about this event and purchase your ticket here.

Do you know an amazing RPCV? Nominate them the Outstanding Returning Peace Corps Volunteer award!

Serve Colorado, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Governor’s Service Awards which are presented in recognition and appreciation of  outstanding contribution to volunteerism and service throughout the State of Colorado. Award categories include:

  • Outstanding Returning Peach Corps Volunteer
  • Outstanding Volunteer
  • Outstanding Veteran Volunteer
  • Outstanding Community Leader
  • Outstanding Nonprofit Organization
  • Outstanding AmeriCorps State/National Member
  • Outstanding AmeriCorps VISTA Member
  • Outstanding AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Member
  • Outstanding Senior Corps Volunteer
  • Outstanding AmeriCorps Alumni

More information about each category and the awards in general be found here. Nominations are due July 18, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. and the nomination form can be found here. The awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

Previously honored RPCVs include Casey Burnette (Vanuatu, 2002-2004), Mike and Ann Moore (Togo, 1962-64), and Steve Werner (Korea, 1976-78).

Saturday, 10 June 2017 20:32

Sign Up to Host Conference Attendees

Welcome mat

Interested in hosting a fellow RPCV during the 2017 Peace Corps Connect conference in August? Complete this simple form and have your name added to a list of individuals and families willing to open their homes to a conference attendee or two. Once you have filled out the form, your name will be added to a list of couch surfing options for the conference on the National Peace Corps Association's conference registration page. Individuals and/or families looking to stay with a local RPCV can then reach out directly to make arrangements for their stay.

Dear Friends:

This morning the Peace Corps urgently needs your help.

A document vital to Peace Corps’ future is now circulating in the Senate: The Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter. By signing onto this letter, Senators pledge to support robust funding for the Peace Corps for fiscal year 2018.

Please urge your Senator to sign now.

With the president’s proposed cuts to the Peace Corps—potentially denying many more Americans and host country communities the opportunity to partner in peace, progress, and understanding—it is up to Congress to restore the agency’s resources.

But the turn-around time is short. Senators have until this Friday, June 9 to sign the Dear Colleague Letter. That’s our deadline, too.

After you email your Senator, please forward this email to your networks. Two minutes of your time could mean another American has the opportunity to serve our country and fuel the next generation of American leadership.

With graditude,

 

 

 

Glenn Blumhorst

President and CEO

National Peace Corps Association

#ProtectPeaceCorps

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