A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley
We offer a heartfelt thank you to Joyce Leader who hosted our December potluck. About 30 WCPCA members gathered at her home to enjoy a potluck of delicious and festive selections.
For the program we were entertained by a dozen "mini-views" of Peace Corps programs ranging across five decades, touching most continents, and including the Solomon Islands.
We closed 2012 with the secure feeling that Peace Corps programs are the endless source of good stories, good photos, and good works. Our thank you for preparing the program goes to Maggie Keenan.
Members present at the potluck elected the 2013 WCPCA board whose names will appear in an article below.
It is my hope to conduct a marketing survey among RPCVs, both those who are members of the group as
well as those on our email list, to determine what talents are in the group and how those talents might
be used. In the meantime, if any of you has an idea, please present it to the board or me for discussion.
Do not fear: suggesting an idea will not mean that you will be required to implement it!
I look forward to the coming year with West Cascade, and meeting more of you face-to-face. It is always
a joy to make a connection with an RPCV whether at Albertson's or Market of Choice, or a yarn store.
Miriam Aiken, President
The 2013 board was elected by a vote of the general membership at the December potluck. Please note that all board meetings are listed on the website's calendar and all WCPCA members are welcome to attend. You'll find contact information for board members on the website under "Contacts" and in the 2013 membership directory to be distributed soon.
President: Miriam Aiken, Philippines 1965-67
Juliet Bender, Mexico 2009-12
As the outgoing WCPCA president, I thank the energetic and imaginative 2012 board members for their dedication and hard work throughout their year of service. Details of our year's work will appear in the 2012 annual report that will be summarized for the membership in the February newsletter. The full report will be posted on the website.
At a personal level, I very much appreciate board members' individual efforts to pursue their work and contribute to the teamwork that propelled the board. Teamwork made the difference. Thank you to Miriam Aiken, Keith Beyer, James Cloutier, Josette Green, Maggie Keenan, Felicia Kenney, Hannah Klausman, and Dale Morse.
WCPCA members have a privileged opportunity to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by participating in presentations about the Peace Corps at South Eugene High School (SEHS). Please read about the program below and consider volunteering.
WCPCA member, Julia Harvey (Tonga, 1990-93), is a science teacher at SEHS and is organizing three panel presentations about the Peace Corps for the school's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Tuesday, January 15th. This is not the official holiday but is the anniversary of Dr. King's birth.
There won't be the usual classes that day but instead teachers are organizing three "sessions" of which two are in the morning and one in the afternoon. Julia is putting together three panel discussions that will take place in her classroom. She would like a panel of three RPCVs at each session to talk about their Peace Corps experiences and to answer questions from students. Volunteers should show some slides as part of their presentations which will be about 20 minutes each. Julia will provide a projector and screen. Slides must be in digital format.
Volunteers would commit to participating for an hour plus a little set up and take down time. SEHS is located at 400 E. 19th Avenue in Eugene at the corner of 19th and Patterson. If you are interested, please email Julia.
Julia has entitled the program with a quotation from President John F. Kennedy, "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." (1963) You may recall that this quotation is printed on the back of the tee shirt that WCPCA is currently selling. If you take part in the program and have one of these tee shirts, you may want to wear it. If you don't have a tee shirt and would like to buy one, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get in touch with you or you can purchase a shirt online through the shopping page of the WCPCA website.
Many thanks in advance to WCPCA members for supporting this activity and making the Peace Corps real for SEHS students.
As you read about grants that WCPCA has awarded to Peace Corps Partnership Projects, please recall that the organization must raise funds to do this through its annual sale of international calendars.
Please consider giving calendars now, early in the year, to family members, friends, colleagues, teachers, students, employees, and anyone that you know who is interested in the world. The calendars, with their beautiful photos from twelve Peace Corps host countries and an exhaustive listing of cultural holidays from throughout the world, make beautiful gifts. There is no better gift at this price.
If you are interested in a calendar, please let us know by emailing email@example.com and someone will call you. You may also purchase calendars through PayPal on the website on the shopping page.
The board appreciates your support as do the recipients of WCPCA grants! Visit the project page of the website to see a listing of projects funded by WCPCA since 1986. Your purchase helps make a difference in the world.
At its December meeting the WCPCA board awarded $300 to Casa Materna Sustainability Project in Nicaragua. The project's director is Anna Steeves-Reece who is from Eugene and a recent graduate of the University of Oregon. Anna was in Eugene in December and attended the board meeting to describe her Peace Corps program and the project that she is organizing.
Anna explained that Casa Maternas are established throughout Nicaragua to provide medical services to pregnant women including prenatal care, medically supervised delivery, and well baby care. The federal government provides basic support for the facilities but the one targeted by this project is underfunded. It lacks sufficient food and basic supplies for the patients who frequently have to share beds.
Anna is collaborating with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health to start a mill business at the Casa Materna where she works. In rural Nicaragua, mills are extremely popular because people grind their corn, cacao, and coffee on a daily basis. At present, the neighborhood where this Casa Materna is located does not have a mill business and residents have expressed enthusiasm for creating one.
With a steady source of income the Casa Materna will improve the nutrition, health education and general comfort for the women staying there. Moreover, many women will have increased motivation to come to the Casa Materna instead of giving birth in their homes. The health center has offered to build an annex for the business, and through the Peace Corps Partnership Program Anna hopes to fund the purchase of an electric mill.
A portion of the funds for this award came from distributions of the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund which was created with generous gifts to WCPCA and whose sole purpose is to support humanitarian programs.
Soon the 2013 WCPCA membership directory will be emailed as a .pdf file to the organization's approximately 140 members. The directory will include members' names, contact information, PCV service years, and for some, a brief bio. Members only are listed and the directory is available to members only. It's never circulated beyond the organization. The final pages include an alphabetical list of the countries of PC service represented by the membership. The directory is an excellent reference and networking tool.
The membership directory exists in .pdf form only. When you receive it, be sure to download it and save it for future reference. Individuals may print their own copies as needed. Special thanks go to Felicia Kenney and Miriam Aiken for creating the directory.
The book group's next book will be River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler, PCV, China, 1996-98. We'll gather on Monday, March 4th, 7pm, at Josette Green's home to talk about the book and how the story relates to our own Peace Corps experiences. All are welcome.
WCPCA members who are interested in volunteering at Food for Lane County to help sort and package food will work from 6-9 pm on Monday, January 28th, at FFL's warehouse, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene. Patty MacAfee has secured a place for WCPCA volunteers in this activity on the fourth Monday of the following months in 2013: January, February, March, April, September, October, and November.
This is an excellent opportunity to serve an exemplary Lane Country organization which plays a significant role in our community, as well as to meet volunteers from other groups and introduce WCPCA to a broader base in the community. You are welcome simply to arrive at the warehouse at the appointed time and date or email Patty with questions or to confirm your coming. Please write FFLC in the subject line.
Bringing the world back home is the Peace Corps' third goal and WCPCA member, Corie Hinton (Madagascar, 2008-2010), found a way to do this though an art project at Eugene's Bertha Holt Elementary School. This was the topic of a Bob Welch column in the Register Guard on 12/19/12. If you missed it, you'll find the column through this link.
The following quotation will give you the highlight and it's also good to know that Corie received a grant from the Eugene Education Foundation to finance her work. "Hinton, ... orchestrated what might qualify as a Christmas miracle: merging the collective artistic skills of 90 Bertha Holt Elementary School fourth-graders to make a four-panel mural on cloth that will hang in a hospital in Madagascar to teach healthy living to young people."
In October the WCPCA board awarded $500 to the Peace Corps Partnership Project, Bridging the Gap: A Computer Classroom in Rural Costa Rica, which is organized by PCV, Rachel Huguet, from Oregon. The project will build a classroom to house computer equipment that Rachel's school has purchased through a separate grant.
WCPCA has just received a photo and note from Rachel thanking the organization and adding, "Please know that you have truly helped to improve the future of this community."
We hope that Rachael will be able to visit us to tell us more about her project after she returns to Oregon.
More information about this advocacy effort is available at this link.