Peace Corps Treasure Boxes

by Peace Corps Connect/NPCA

http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/2012/06/peace-corps-treasure-boxes/

By Jonathan Pearson on Monday, June 25th, 2012

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(l to r) Speakers at the Nashville Expo included Tennessee RPCV President Dave Keiser (Morocco 98-00), NPCA Vice President Anne Baker (Fiji 84-87), Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler -Radelet (Samoa 81-83) and keynote speaker Becca Stevens
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Speaking at Saturday’s Third Goal Expo in Nashville, Tennessee took on extra meaning for Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest, regionally and nationally recognized community builder and founder of Thistle Farms, a social enterprise that stands with women recovering from violence, prostitution, addiction and life on the streets.

Becca has built a strong relationship with members of the Tennessee Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs).  But the foundation of her 25 year Peace Corps relationship came through her husband’s uncle, Norm Hummon, who played an early role in Peace Corps’ program development in Africa.

Sadly, Norm Hummon passed away last week at the age of 94.  Her keynote at the Expo gave Becca the chance to honor and reflect upon Norm’s contributions.  According to Becca, “he never doubted the depth and meaning of his life.”

One of the ways Norm passed on that meaning to his family was through his “treasure box”.  Becca recalled occasions when she and her children would visit, and Uncle Norm would pull out his box filled with small stones, foreign currency or other artifacts from his Peace Corps days.  Behind every item in his treasure box, Becca said there was an amazing story.

For the more than 100 attendees at the Expo, a similar experience could be found in the multipurpose room at the Nashville Public Library, which was converted into a display area featuring the treasures of 15 RPCVs from across the globe.  From Thailand to Togo.  From Costa Rica to Kiribati.  The world was brought to Nashville with an array of clothing, handicrafts, photographs and maps, prompting delightful conversations of countries, culture and cross-continental camaraderie.

Treasuring the Peace Corps experience is not only the domain of RPCVs and former staff.  That was evident during a panel discussion entitled “Peace Corps Through the Eyes of Family and Friends.”  A half-dozen fellow Tennesseeans who visited RPCVs while in service were featured.  They shared advice for families planning visits to see current or future volunteers, and there was no shortage of amusing stories about their travel adventures!

But beyond those tales, there was also something deeper.  ”I so admired and was so amazed by the spirit of Peace Corps Volunteers,” said Megan Florentine, friend of Cameroon volunteer Debbi Schuld.

Missy Voigt, whose daughter Lindsay is just now completing her service in China, was “awed by how receptive and responsive (Lindsay’s) community was to what she was doing.”

And for Gregg Sullivan, whose son Andy is serving in the Dominican Republic, his visit “made me even prouder of my son, and prouder of my country.  (Peace Corps) is a wonderful example of the higher good…it’s heartwarming.”

For all who served, continued to serve and will soon join the ranks of the Peace Corps, Becca Stevens reminded the audience of their importance by reflecting on her own commitment to reaching out to those in need, wherever they may live. ” My work is just a drop in the bucket.  But the world is starving for those drops.  The world is in need of us to keep hoping and loving.”

Follow this link to view more photos from the Nashville Expo (courtesy of Angie Harris and Emily Woodling of the Tennessee RPCVs)

Nashville was the first of four Third Goal Expos being organized this year by the National Peace Corps Association, the Peace Corps and local RPCV groups.  A similar Expo will be held Sunday in Minneapolis (part of NPCA’s 2012 Annual Gathering).  Later in the year, Third Goal Expos are planned in Providence and Los Angeles.


Pre-Expo Party tonight

Don’t forget, we’re having a Party for the Peace Corps tonight at the Rutledge from 7 to Midnight. We have three amazing bands tonight. The first act, RPCV Aaron Stayman, will go on around 8:00, followed by Revolfusion at 9:00 and then the Carmonas at 10:30. Entrance is free with a suggested donation of $10.

Expo-Pre-Party-Poster


Third Goal Expo: Building Global Communities

Registration is now open for the Third Goal Expo: Building Global Communities in Nashville at the downtown Library on June 23rd. The event will open to the public at 1:00PM so please register online (FREE) and come downtown and see a different perspective on life from around the world.

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12:00 – 1:15 pm: RPCV Brainstorming: Elevate the Third Goal

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) are invited to participate in this discussion forum led by Peace Corps agency staff to brainstorm ideas and best practices to further promote and elevate the Third Goal. Here’s your chance to share your thoughts on what you do and what you need to “bring the world back home.” You are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. This activity will be held in the Library Classroom.

Facilitator: Coming soon!

1:00 pm: Registration begins

After registration, guests are invited to visit the Around the World exhibits (multimedia room) or view the continuously streaming videos (classroom) from Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association. This activity will be held in the Library Auditorium.

2:00 – 2:45 pm: Speakers Program

Speakers:

• Keynote: Becca Stevens, Thistle Farms
• Peace Corps: Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Deputy Director
• National Peace Corps Association: Kevin Quigley, President
• Tennessee Returned Peace Corps Volunteers: David Keiser, President

3:00 – 3:45 pm: Break-out session: Engaging RPCVs in the Classroom

The Third Goal of the Peace Corps is to educate people in the United States about the countries and cultures in which volunteers have served. In this session, you’ll hear about free resources that support educators, returned Peace Corps volunteers and others to bring the world back home to classrooms and communities. Learn how you can tap into Speakers Match and Coverdell World Wise Schools materials, connect with serving and returned volunteers and more! This activity will be held in the Library Auditorium.

Facilitator: Anne Baker, Vice President, National Peace Corps Association

Panelists:

  • Nicole Harper, Botswana 1994-1996
  • Angene Wilson, Liberia 1962-1964, University of Kentucky Professor Emerita of Education and co-author of Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers

4:00 – 4:45 pm: Break-out session: Peace Corps through the Eyes of Family and Friends

Do you have a family member or friend who is serving in the Peace Corps? Or who is contemplating service in the future? Come to this session to hear another perspective on Peace Corps: from friends or family of serving Peace Corps volunteers. We will discuss practical issues such as staying in touch, providing support and other concerns, in addition to hearing different takes on the experience. This activity will be held in the Library Auditorium.

Facilitator: David Keiser, President, Tennessee Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Panelists:

  • John Harris (parent of Papua New Guinea volunteer Angela Harris)
  • John Sontag (grandparent of Ukraine volunteer Chris Powers)
  • Mendrika Ramarlina (Vanderbilt student taught English by Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar)

Throughout the Event

1:00 – 5:00 pm: Around the World Exhibits

Stop by the Multimedia Room and visit each table in the Around the World exhibits to learn more about the Peace Corps experience and the countries served by volunteers.

Peace Corps Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services
Peace Corps Regional Recruitment Office
National Peace Corps Association
Tennessee Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Around the World Displays

  • Nicole Harper, Botswana 1994-1996
  • Debbie Schuld, Cameroon 2007-2009
  • Diana and Andy Ray, Costa Rica 2005-2007
  • Sheila Fischer, Jamaica 2004-2006
  • Casey Woodling, Madagascar 2007-2009
  • Jennifer Boyd, Morocco 2008-2010
  • Dave Keiser, Morocco 1998-2000
  • Angie Harris, Papua New Guinea 1991-1993
  • Sam and Diane Glasgow, Thailand 1966-1968/1973-1975
  • Lacey Cook, Togo 2002-2004
  • Connie Mathews, Uzbekistan 1997-1999

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We need your service memories

The Peace Corps and the NPCA will be coming to Nashville on June 23 to hold a Third Goal Expo and we need you to dust off our boxes of memories and help us out. A highlight of the Third Goal Expo is a series of tables representing different countries of service by Peace Corps. Those Around the World displays are all done by RPCVs – perhaps even you!

We will have signage for each table, but otherwise invite you to fill the tables with whatever display you wish. This is a wonderful opportunity to share pictures and treasures with future volunteers, family members of serving volunteers, educators and the public. Other items to bring could include cloth, maps, project-specific items and handicrafts. Feel free to wear your favorite traditional dress. The goal for the display is to have some interesting Show and Tell items that initiate conversations with the people who attend. I’ll leave that up to your imaginations!

In the meantime, we need to know who is interested and which country you plan to represent. Please fill out the following sign-up form by June 3. Sign-Up Form


NPCA Peace Corps Expo in Nashville June 23

The National Peace Corps Association and the Peace Corps are kicking off the next 50 years of Peace Corps by focusing on the “Third Goal”: bringing the world back home. One way we are doing this is through a series of four Third Goal Expos – free events open to the Peace Corps community, educators, and the general public.  Designed in collaboration with local NPCA member groups and Regional Recruitment Offices, these expos will showcase the countries and cultures where Peace Corps Volunteers have served, highlight Volunteers’ experiences and projects, and introduce educators to free resources to bring the world into their classrooms via the World Wise Schools program.
Save the dates on your calendar to attend one or more of these exciting Expos:
June 23 – Nashville, TN
July 1 – Minneapolis, MN
September 22 – Providence, RI
September 29 – Los Angeles, CA
Complete Expo details and free registration will be available shortly on the NPCA website.

The National Peace Corps Association and the Peace Corps are kicking off the next 50 years of Peace Corps by focusing on the “Third Goal”: bringing the world back home. One way we are doing this is through a series of four Third Goal Expos – free events open to the Peace Corps community, educators, and the general public.  Designed in collaboration with local NPCA member groups and Regional Recruitment Offices, these expos will showcase the countries and cultures where Peace Corps Volunteers have served, highlight Volunteers’ experiences and projects, and introduce educators to free resources to bring the world into their classrooms via the World Wise Schools program.

Save the dates on your calendar to attend one or more of these exciting Expos:

June 23 – Nashville, TN
July 1 – Minneapolis, MN
September 22 – Providence, RI
September 29 – Los Angeles, CA

Complete Expo details and free registration will be available shortly on the NPCA website.



Tennesseans Party for the Peace Corps!

Thanks for coming out on Friday night!

We raised $1,100 for projects of Peace Corps Volunteers in Tennessee!

Four amazing bands, arm wrestling tournament hosted by GNARLLY and a photo booth were all highlights of the evening.

If you couldn’t make it, you can still  enjoy the pictures.

Stay tuned for more TNRPCV activities…


Online VIP Tickets are on sale now for $10.  Order now before they run out otherwise they are $15 at the door.

Register for Tennesseans' Party for the Peace Corps in Nashville, TN  on Eventbrite

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Calendars Sold Out!

 

Happy Holidays Everyone!  We had a great time at last weekend’s potluck with some pretty great white elephant gifts and awesome food.  Cheap chicken parts from Kazakhstan had one of the most interesting back stories (ask Roger Hume to tell you sometime) and the poppy seed roll was out of sight.  We also sold all of our calendars which is a first for us which is good, but at the same time, we apologize if you weren’t able to get one this year.  If you really want one, you can still get them directly from the source in Wisconsin at www.rpcvcalendar.org.  Thanks for coming and have a great holiday season. 

Maborok Said!

Dave Keiser


LOCAL PEACE CORPS ADVOCATES URGE SUPPORT FOR AGENCY

      50th Anniversary Gathering Spotlights Critical Corps Needs

 

Four Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVS) from Knoxville,  Knoxville and Nashville are back  home following 50th Anniversary celebrations in Washington, DC.  Wendy Seaward (Lesotho), Sean Keegan (Chile), Angela Harris (Papua New Guinea) and Joshua Gwinn (Burkina Faso) [photo] went to the Nation’s Capital with a message:  Support legislation to honor and strengthen the Peace Corps’ mission of promoting peace and friendship around the world. They met with Representatives Diane Black, Jim Cooper, John Duncan, Chuck Fleischman, Phil Roe, and the staffs of   Senators Llamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

The Returned Peace Corps volunteers from Tennessee were among 700 who committed themselves to participate in a September 22nd Capitol Hill advocacy day, organized by the National Peace Corps Association, the nation’s leading non-profit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community.  September 22nd marked fifty years to the day of final congressional passage and signing of the Peace Corps Act in 1961.  More than 6,000 attended Peace Corps 50th celebrations from Sept. 21 – 25.

Advocates urged continued strong support for funding of the Peace Corps, noting the positive role Peace Corps volunteers play in U.S. outreach to the world and emphasizing the forgotten dividend and many domestic benefits RPCVs provide to communities here at home.  Earlier this year Peace Corps received a $26 million cut to its $400 million budget.  Advocates are seeking to forestall further cuts.  Some 8,655 Peace Corps volunteers are currently in the field – an increase of nearly 1,000 from a year ago and the highest number in 40 years.  Since 1961, more than 200,000 citizens have served as Peace Corps volunteers in nearly 140 different countries.

Advocates urged bi-partisan support and cooperation to ensure passage of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, designed to strengthen the agency’s training and response to volunteers serving overseas who are subjected to physical or sexual assault.  Since this issue received much attention earlier this year, Congress, the Peace Corps and victims advocacy groups have taken significant steps forward to address the concern. 

“I have a special interest in this area as a woman in our group was experiencing assaults at her assignment, and our Peace Corps Country Director would not address her safety issue.   Most of the serving volunteers in Lesotho at the time wrote letters to DC and had the country director removed,” stated Wendy Seaward. 

Congress is also considering legislation to authorize the creation of a commemorative work near the National Mall to mark the historic significance of the founding of the Peace Corps in 1961.  This project would use no tax payer funds.   

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A Picnic for Peace!

Come join us in Dragon Park to snack on some worldly flavors and fun. The TN Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (TNRPCV) will be showcasing a variety of foods to sample and display items from countries where they served. Then author/illustrator Linda Ragsdale from The Peace Dragon will be leading all able artists in drawing peace dragons. Watch how letters, numbers and punctuation become the basic strokes of this peaceful messenger.

Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, and family to taste, hear and see adventures from around the world; as we come together to share peace in our community.
 
The event will be held at Fannie Mae Dees Park a.k.a Dragon Park Park, under the large shelter, 2400 Blakemore Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 18.
 
 
The event will take place rain or shine (held under the shelter). Street Parking is available.