TNRPCVs featured on NPCA website

August Featured Advocates: Tennessee RPCVs

By Jonathan Pearson on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

(l to r) In Nashville, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Angie Harris (Papua New Guinea 91-93), Susanne Bennett (Togo 05-07) and Evan Campa (South Africa 04-06) make plans to meet their lawmakers

We’re hearing good things from around the country as members of the Peace Corps community are reaching out and scheduling district office meetings during the National Peace Corps Association’s first-ever locally based advocacy mobilization during the August congressional recess.

Nashville Tennessee is just one of the places where this is happening.  ”RPCVs are active, engaged and responsible citizens who vote,” says Angie Harris, one of the lead organizers of the local advocacy initiative of the Tennessee Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.  ”We want our government officials and our local communities to be aware of the importance of the Peace Corps and how serving as a volunteer has impacted our personal and professional lives in a positive way.”

About a half-dozen RPCVs came together last month to start mapping out a meeting strategy.  The group reviewed materials provided by the NPCA and divided responsibilities for seeking and scheduling meetings.  From Nashville to Jackson to Memphis, meetings are being sought with at least half the members of the Tennessee congressional delegation.

While the group will be making specific requests on Peace Corps funding, safety and security legislation, and Peace Corps commemorative legislation, basic education will also be part of the effort.  ”We know as RPCVs that promoting the Third Goal  (bringing the world back home) is an integral part of promoting the values of the Peace Corps,” said Harris.  ”Tennessee RPCVs want our representatives to know about the global work that volunteers do as well as the service that RPCVs continue to do at home.  And, we want to acknowledge and thank our representatives who have supported the Peace Corps.”

Congratulations to Angie and fellow Tennessee RPCVs Susanne Bennett, Evan Campa, Hope Collins, Dave Keiser, and Sheila Denemark for their local leadership in advancing district meeting advocacy efforts.  It’s an endeavor that is much more than raising awareness about their personal volunteer experiences.  As Harris notes, “Advocating for the Peace Corps is important to us because we want other Americans to have the same opportunities as we did to serve as volunteers.”

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