A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley

March 2013

Coming Events

  • March 4: Book group will discuss River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler, 7:00 pm at Josette Green's home. Josette's address is in the membership directory.

  • March 14 : Discussion group, 6:30-8:00 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair, Eugene.

  • March 25: Food packaging at Food for Lane County, 6:00 - 9:00 pm, FFLC warehouse, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene.

  • March 28: Discussion group, 6:30-8:00 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair, Eugene.

  • April 9: Volunteer for the clean up crew at Chefs' Night Out, an annual fundraiser of Food for Lane County. Enjoy culinary treats first. Hult Center, Eugene, 8:15-10:30 pm. See article below.

  • April 12: Potluck, 6-9 pm, at the home of Howard and Marvy Schuman. Elke Richers will tell us about her recent Peace Corps service in Peru (2010-12). The address is in the membership directory or see the calendar on the website.

  • April 15: WCPCA board meeting, 7:00 pm. Place to be decided.

  • April 22: Food packaging at Food for Lane County, 6:00 - 9:00 pm, FFLC warehouse, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene.

  • May 3: NOM party to honor those newly nominated as Peace Corps trainees. Mark your calendar now for this joyful evening of celebration that will include a compelling program. See details in the April newsletter. The event will be cosponsored by WCPCA and the Office of the Peace Corps recruiter at the U of O.

  • To inquire about any of these activities please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org or visit the calendar page of the WCPCA website.

In this Issue

From The Board

From Members and the Wider World

Volunteer Opportities

ReConnections is the monthly newsletter of the West Cascade Peace Corps Association (WCPCA) and can be found online at www.westcascadepca.org on the "News" page. If you have a question about the WCPCA, would no longer like to receive the newsletter, or are interested in becoming more involved with the WCPCA, please contact info@westcascadepca.org.

ReConnections serves as a resource to RPCVs and friends in the Eugene and Lane County area through social events, community service projects, and professional development programs that embody the 3rd Goal and spirit of the Peace Corps. The WCPCA board reserves the right to choose which activities, projects, and programs will be published. Suggested items may be submitted to info@westcascadepca.org for consideration.

Editors: Deb Jones and Dorothy Soper
Newsletter Design: Felicia Kenney

Thank yous for the February potluck

A heartfelt "thank you" is extended by the board to John Hannah and Mary Brooner who welcomed WCPCA members to their home for the February potluck and to Kate Coy who gave a riveting account of her Peace Corps experience in Togo, 2007-08. Kate had quite a story to tell!

It was a very successful evening (in spite of technical challenges); we had many new faces.  It was wonderful to see so many young people, long-time members not seen in the last few years, and other various new people who found their way to the potluck - it was a full house!! 

Juliet Bender and Patty Mac Afee, Program cochairs 

Looking forward to the April potluck

On Friday, April 12th, Howard and Marvy Schuman will host the WCPCA Potluck.  Elke Richers will share her Peace Corps experience serving in the mountains of Peru (2010-12) as a Youth Development volunteer.  Please join us for an evening of good food, good company, and an interesting presentation.

You'll find the Schumans' address in your membership directory. The address along with driving directions is also in the calendar section of the website.

Juliet Bender and Patty Mac Afee, Program cochairs

WCPCA welcomes a new board member and searches for others

Bhavani Manheim is the newest  member of the WCPCA Board.  She answered the recent call for volunteers to serve on the board.  She is no stranger to the WCPCA board as she served with our founder Beryl Brinkman.   Bhavani was an RPCV in Jamaica.

The WCPCA Board needs some more members and we also need to fill the positions of membership chair, secretary, and vice president.   The board has only 3 more scheduled meetings this year, each lasting about 2 hours, so board members who help coordinate and plan activities do so from their homes and report to the board through email.   Please reply to info@westcascadepca.org and write Board Member in the subject line.

Miriam Aiken, President

Volunteers still needed for Chefs' Night Out

Step right up! Chefs' Night Out, Tuesday, April 9th, is almost upon us and we still need volunteers to help with clean-up.   Only four people have signed up so far and we have been asked for 10 or 12.  

Volunteers will arrive between 8:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to enjoy the event, sampling very tasty tidbits from Eugene restaurants, everything from hors d'oeuvres to desserts and cakes.  Around 9:00, after awards are presented, volunteers start to work off the calories by breaking down the tables and signs.  

We also need a coordinator from WCPCA to check in our volunteers and direct them to work stations.

Please reply to info@westcascadepca.org and write Chefs' Night Out in the subject line.

New editorial policy for the WCPCA newsletter

At its January meeting the board voted to adopt an editorial policy that will focus the newsletter on the organization's activities, while including updates from nonprofit organizations with missions similar to those of WCPCA. You'll find the new policy below and on the "News" page of the website.

ReConnections serves as a resource to RPCVs and friends in the Eugene and Lane County area through social events,  community service projects, and professional development programs that embody the 3rd Goal and spirit of the Peace Corps.   The WCPCA board reserves the right to choose which activities, projects, and programs will be published.  Suggested items may be submitted to info@westcascadepca.org for consideration.

Deb Jones and Dorothy Soper, Newsletter editors

Donation appreciated

The board thanks the family of Colleen Burns for a donation of $50 to honor a family member who served with the Peace Corps in Koseae (South Pacific).

Sale of international calendars

The primary WCPCA fundraiser in 2012 was the sale of international calendars. We succeeded in selling about 150 of the 200 that we ordered. Many thanks to all of you who purchased and sold calendars. The board appreciates your support.

The board will donate the remaining calendars to the four Eugene public high schools.

Become a MIUSA host family and change the world by hosting leaders from Pakistan!

Mobility International USA www.miusa.org is a Eugene based non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

MIUSA is currently inviting individuals and/or families who are interested in building crosscultural understanding, and exploring diverse cultures, food, and languages to become a MIUSA host family. In May, 20 dynamic leaders with and without disabilities from Pakistan will be in Eugene for a 14 day professional exchange program focusing on disability rights, inclusive education, community development and women's rights.

Hosting dates are May 16th to 24th and delegates will be very busy each day while also using LTD buses to and from program activities. Homes do not need to be wheelchair accessible and if needed, hosting dates may be adjusted based on host family availability.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Ruby Holmes, Exchange Program Assistant, at rholmes@miusa.org or by phone at 541-343-1284 Ext. 21. 

A World of Change for Exchange Student from Pakistan

In her year in Eugene, Azima's life as she knew it, as well as her newly-adopted host community, changed forever.  Azima, a 2011-12 AFS exchange student and Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Scholarship winner from Pakistan, who has prosthetic legs, no use of her hands, and uses a wheelchair, was placed in Eugene, a hub of innovations for people with disabilities.

During her exchange year, Azima greeted everything with a sense of adventure and an open mind. The outreach efforts made by Azima's host mother, Harriet, and the surrounding community helped Azima to explore new paths and opportunities, including skiing and riding a bicycle for the first time!

Azima's host mother Harriet said, "Azima is wonderful, a great addition to our family, and stretches us all to expand what we think is possible!"

The YES Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the United States. Scholarships for the YES Abroad Program are also available to U.S. citizens attending high school study in select countries.

American Field Service (AFS) is a worldwide, nonprofit organization that has been leading international high school student exchange for more than 65 years. Each year, AFS-USA sends more than 1,200 US students abroad, and welcomes 2,300 international high school students, including YES students, who come to study in US high schools and live with host families.

Learn more about AFS, YES and meet local exchange students! Join Eugene area AFS volunteers, host families and exchange students for an International Potluck on March 15th from 6-8pm at the University of Oregon Longhouse. For more information contact Caitlin Krutsinger (RPCV Mozambique 2008-2011) at (503)419-9514 or ckrutsinger@afsusa.org. We hope to see you there!

Carnaval Brasil!

WCPCA member, Bob Crites, sends an invitation from Brazil to lovers of Latin music in Eugene. A fundraiser for Bob's program, Students Helping Street Kids International (SHSKI), to which WCPCA has granted funds, will take place on Saturday, March 6th at Cozmic Pizza. For background information about SHSKI visit, www.helpthekids.org.

Bob invites us by saying, "Get ready to move, dance and shake to the compelling sensuous rhythms of Brazilian and American local performers from Samba JŠ, Sun Bossa, Priscilla Dantas, Ziriguidum and Calango as they play various kinds of Brazilian music, including samba, samba de roda, lambada, forro, bossa nova, choro, samba reggae and maracatu. Capoeira with CTE Capoeiragem and Samba workshop with Josť Da Silva."

Event date and details are:

Saturday, March 9, 7:00 pm - 11:45 pm, at Cozmic Pizza, 8th and Charnelton in downtown Eugene. Ticket prices are adults, $10; students with ID, $8; kids 12 and under are free.

Peace Corps Rates High at the U of O

An article in the Register-Guard on 2/11/13 revealed that the U of O currently ranks 8th among large universities for the number of Peace Corps volunteers that have come from its student body. The fine efforts of U of O Peace Corps recruiters, including the current recruiter, Hannah Klausman who is an ex officio member of the WCPCA board, was described in detail. Hannah kindly acknowledges the contributions of local RPCVs, saying that students respond very favorably to person to person contact with returned volunteers.

Hannah will let us know when and how WCPCA members can contribute to her recruiting efforts on campus this spring. Let us help her maintain the momentum. The total number of PCVs that have come from the U of O is 1,165. How far can we go?

Enjoy the full article.

PCV Anna Steeves-Reece reports from Nicaragua

In December WCPCA awarded $300 to the Peace Corps Partnership project, Casa Materna, organized by PCV Anna Steeves-Reece of Eugene. Anna was in Eugene at that time to visit her family and attended the board meeting to tell us of her plans to set up a mill business at a birthing center which has been the primary site of her work.

The center, a Casa Materna, is run by the federal government but is severely underfunded. Working with local administrators, Anna developed a plan for the center's operating a mill to grind corn, cocoa, and other items for people in the town. Profits from the business will be used to better equip the Casa Materna which has built a small annex to house the mill.

Using approximately $1,000 raised through the Peace Corps Partnership program, Anna has purchased the mill and reports, "In early February the long-awaited check came in from the Peace Corps Partnership and I went with people from the Ministry of Health to bring the mill back to Rancho. It took five burly men to load the thing into our pickup truck, and then I spent the next three hours on the road praying that it wouldn't fall off, get stolen, rained on, or destroyed by some other unforeseen disaster.

"Thank you so much to everyone who donated to my mill project! Despite the challenges and setbacks, I am confident that it will work out in the end and that the mill will significantly benefit the women who stay at the Casa Materna in my site. None of it would have been possible without YOU! I'll be sure to post again once everything has finally come together."

Anna is near the close of her Peace Corps service but will be staying a third year in Nicaragua to work for the in country Peace Corps office training and advising PCVs. She expects to visit her original site from time to time to learn about the progress of the mill business and will let us know what she finds.

New president for the NPCA

WCPCA member, Pat Wand, Vice chair of the NPCA Board of Directors, is a signatory to the NPCA letter announcing the selection of a new president. Please read the details below.

Dear NPCA Members,

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Glenn Blumhorst, Guatemala 1988-91, as President of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA). Glenn Blumhorst's appointment follows an extensive nationwide search that began in Fall 2012.  A search committee of the NPCA Board of Directors selected him from a robust pool of highly qualified applicants.

Glenn comes to the NPCA with 25 years of international experience, 18 of them working with ACDI/VOCA.  Glenn has held leadership positions in small scale projects and complex multinational operations.  He has experience servicing and managing large grants and developing strategic partnerships.

Glenn, who served in the Peace Corps with his wife, Cathy, will begin his role leading the NPCA community on February 25, 2013.  Those attending any of the upcoming events between February 28 and March 2, including Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, Director's Circle Weekend and Board of Directors Meeting, will have the opportunity to meet him in person.

Please join us in welcoming Glenn to the NPCA.

Best Wishes, Tony Barclay, Chair, Patricia Wand, Vice Chair, NPCA Board of Directors