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

November 2013

Coming Events

  • November 4: Monday evening, 7-9 pm, the book group will discuss a newly published book, Peace Corps in Panama: Fifty Years, Many Voices, by Meredith W. Cornett. Thirty authors reflect on their Peace Corps experiences in Panama.

    RPCVs who worked in Panama are especially encouraged to come. The meeting will be at the home of Dorothy Soper. Her address is in the membership directory.

  • November 7: Thursday evening, the discussion group will meet 6:30-8:30 pm at the New Day Bakery, 449 Blair Avenue, Eugene.

  • November 21: Thursday evening, the discussion group will meet 6:30-8:30 pm at the New Day Bakery, 449 Blair Avenue, Eugene.

  • November 25: Monday evening, 6-9 pm, join the WCPCA crew at the Food for Lane County warehouse, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene, to package food donations into family size containers.

  • December 6: Friday evening, 6-9 pm, WCPCA potluck at the home of Joyce Leader. See the website's calendar for the address and driving directions.

    We will be repeating the wildly entertaining program of last year's successful December potluck at which a dozen or so members shared a few slides from their Peace Corps service spanning five decades. See the article below for details about how to take part.

  • December 15: Sunday evening, 7 pm, WCPCA board meeting at Dorothy Soper's home. All members are welcome. Dorothy's address is in the membership directory.

  • 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

Nominations for the 2014 WCPCA Board of Directors

It is time to select members for the 2014 Board of Directors. We are looking for individuals to serve on the board and also to fill the positions of vice president, treasurer, and secretary.  Board members will be elected at the December potluck and will serve for the 2014 calendar year. We meet 4 times a year.  If you are interested or know of anyone who may be interested please contact Wayne Thompson (Peru, 1964-66), nominating committee chair, or myself.

Julia Harvey (Tonga, 1990-1993)
WCPCA President

December potluck with a program of
memorable photos from members' service

On Friday, December 6th, 6-9 pm, we will be repeating the wildly entertaining program of last year's successful December potluck at which a dozen or so members shared a few slides from their Peace Corps service. We shared photos spanning five decades.

Please send up to four digital images from your Peace Corps days to Maggie Keenan (Philippines 1987-1990) at maggie@pacinfo.com by November 30th. Maggie will organize these photos and give members the opportunity to share a few words about the pictures and their Peace Corps experience. New members are especially encouraged to contribute photos.

We'll gather at the west Eugene home of WCPCA member, Joyce Leader (Zaire & Hqtrs Staff, 1976-1981). For Joyce's address and driving directions, please consult the calendar on the website. Please bring a dish to share for an evening of merriment and friendship.

Juliet Bender (Mexico, 2009-2012)
Program Cochair

Mentoring and Career Development for Local RPCVs

As announced at our last Pot Luck, and in response to our recent member survey, Howard Schuman (Thailand, 1968-70; Malaysia training staff,1973) will be initiating a mentoring and career development service for WCPCA members. Howard has compiled an initial list of "Professional Talent" possessed by our local RPCVs and will expand this database over time.

Howard will work with those seeking assistance to match them up with others whose careers/skills can offer guidance for career development. Other help can include assistance in defining career goals, resume review, contact/interviewing skills, and web-site identification for particular careers.

Howard continues to work at his own career as an international consultant working with financial institutions in developing countries. He looks forward to working with anyone seeking help in moving forward with their career. Contact Howard at howardmarvyschuman@gmail.com.

WCPCA board

Thai Cooking Class

WCPCA member, Jeem Peterson (Philippines, 1982-1985, Solomon Islands, 1995-1997), will offer a Thai cooking class at the home of Joyce Leader (Zaire & Hqtrs Staff 1976-1981) in November. Jeem will cook a multicourse meal and provide instruction on cooking techniques. Participation is limited to 10 with a $15 charge for food ingredients. Two evening dates are possible and we'll choose the date that accommodates the most people: Friday, November 11 or Sunday, November 13.

Howard Schuman is handling arrangements. Please email him at howardmarvyschuman@gmail.com to register. Include your preferred date or indicate no preference.

Howard Schuman
Thailand 1968-70; Malaysia training staff 1973

Appreciation for the October Potluck

We want to thank the hosts of the October potluck, Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith (Mexico, 2009-2012), for extending such a warm welcome to about 35 WCPCA participants.  The evening began with socializing and delicious food. 

For the program WCPCA members, Nancy and Walt Meyer (Mexico, 2006-2008), discussed the non-profit StoveTeam International's work, which promotes the use of safe and fuel-efficient stoves in Mexico and Central America through the Eugene Southtowne Rotary Club. Nancy and Walt described the urgent need for these stoves to help families afflicted with chronic respiratory diseases from smoke inhalation.

Nancy and Walt also talked about their various volunteer trips to the region, where they assisted with stove testing, demonstrations, and delivery of stoves to rural communities. They encouraged those in attendance to participate in future trips as volunteers. We thank Nancy and Walt very much for their excellent presentation and for their dedicated work with this organization.

WCPCA board

Peace Corps Booth at the U of O Fall Street Faire

WCPCA member and new U of O Peace Corps recruiter, Laurette Garner (Madagascar, 2004-2006), reported that the Peace Corps booth at the early October U of O Street Faire was a busy place with many student visitors. She thanks the several WCPCA members who volunteered to work at the booth. Their help was especially important since the Portland based PC recruiter was unable to help due to the government shutdown.

By working at the booth, WCPCA volunteers learned about new Peace Corps policies and activities. This was a welcome update. In addition to organizing the booth, Laurette spoke to several classes about Peace Corps opportunities and the application process. She's made a strong start in her recruiting year.

WCPCA volunteers at the booth included Keith Beyer, James Cloutier, Josette Green, Jennifer Knowles, Elke Richers, Justin Overdevest, Dorothy Soper, and Wayne Thompson.

WCPCA board

2014 International Calendars

WCPCA is selling the international calendars to raise money primarily to fund humanitarian projects, most often Peace Corps Partnership projects. We ordered 100 calendars this year and they have sold quickly. Only 50 calendars are still available. If you are thinking of buying any, it's best to act quickly.

First a word about the 2014 calendar: Life in thirteen Peace Corps host countries on four continents is depicted in poignant, evocative, and breathtaking photos. A brief description of each of these countries is included. Holidays from cultures throughout the world are listed for each day. Closing pages include a history of the Peace Corps. The calendars will be much appreciated and admired holiday gifts and a focal point for classroom discussions.

The calendars sell individually for $12; five or more may be purchased together for $10 each. They'll be available at the December potluck. If you want to buy one sooner and pick one or more up directly or reserve a calendar, let us know by emailing info@westcascadepca.org and writing "calendar" in the subject line. Someone will call you. If you want to pick one or more up at the December potluck, consider reserving and paying in advance. Calendars may also be ordered through PayPal on the website for $14.50 each which includes the mailing cost.

The board hopes to earn about $600 from calendar sales to fund humanitarian projects. With your help we can do it.

Congratulations to WCPCA member, Michael Kresko, whose beautiful photo from China is included on the December page of the 2013 calendar. Other WCPCA members may want to submit photos. Directions for submissions are on the calendar's last page. The photo submission deadline for the 2015 calendar is 12/31/13. Further information is available online at www.rpcvcalendar.org.

WCPCA board

Humanitarian Project in Kenya Funded

At the October meeting the WCPCA board voted to donate $1,200 to Maisha Elfu (A Thousand Lives in KiSwahili) which is underway in the Kalawa Division of eastern Kenya. The project director is a PCV from Bend, OR, Amber Gomes.

Amber is working to establish libraries in 56 public primary and secondary schools that are participating in a literacy boost inspired by two organizations, Save the Children and World Vision. She's working through the American nonprofit, Books for Africa, which will donate

the books but charges the shipping costs. Amber has submitted grant proposals to other organizations to raise funds for this purpose and believes that she has now only $13,000 more to raise. The WCPCA contribution will help reduce this last segment of the total.

Amber emailed WCPCA to request our support through Books for Africa. She has submitted a grant proposal to the Peace Corps but delays in that office and the recent government shutdown have slowed the review process. Books for Africa is a 501 (c) (3) organization and has a high rating with Charity Navigator. Knowing this, the board was pleased to make the donation through Books for Africa using this year's distributions from the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund, an endowed fund which the organization has established at the Oregon Community Foundation. Distributions from the fund may be used only to fund humanitarian projects.

The board budgeted $2,000 to fund humanitarian projects this year. In May, the board donated $465 to the Peace Corps Partnership project, Camp Unity West, in Ukraine. Funding for Maisha Elfu brings the total amount donated to humanitarian projects this year to $1,665. Both projects are organized by PCVs from Oregon. Your calendar purchases and membership dues help fund these donations.

WCPCA board

Update on WCPCA Business

Spring 2014 regional meeting of RPCV organizations in Eugene: Responsibility to organize the annual meeting of representatives of the five northwest RPCV organizations (Portland, Seattle, Spokane, Boise, and Eugene) rotates on a five year cycle. WCPCA will host the meeting next spring. I t will take place on a Saturday but the date hasn't been set.

The board will soon appoint a committee to plan the meeting and is looking for WCPCA members to serve. Members are also invited to attend the meeting. Traditionally members of the host organization offer lodging to those attending from out of town who may number 8-10.

WCPCA will set the agenda for the meeting. The board will identify topics of widespread mutual interest for discussion. If you have suggestions for a topic, please let a board member know.

If you are willing to help plan and organize the meeting or offer lodging, please email info@westcascadepca.org and write "regional meeting" in the subject line.

This is a good time for WCPCA members to get acquainted with the other northwest RPCV organizations through their websites. You'll find the relevant links on the Links page of the WCPCA website.

Welcome to new members: This year approximately twenty new members have joined WCPCA.

The board welcomes them and hopes that several (not all live locally) will join us at the December potluck and contribute slides to our program. The event will be an excellent opportunity for us to become acquainted.

2014 WCPCA membership directory: The 2014 directory will include the names and contact information for new members as well as current members who have renewed. Note that the membership directory is issued annually in the early part of the calendar year and exists only as a .pdf file that is emailed to members only. You'll find more information about the directory in the article on the next page.

Updating the website: Deb Jones (Solomon Islands, 1995-1997), who manages the WCPCA website, is updating some of the pages. Recently the Links page was updated and now includes links to the websites of the four northwest RPCV groups.

Bylaws amendment: At its April meeting the board voted to recommend to the membership a bylaws amendment to make them consistent with the 2012 revision to Article VII of the constitution. The board recommended that in Article V, Section 4 of the bylaws, the second part of the sentence be deleted as follows: "The Board of Directors meets as the need arises but shall meet at least once a month."

This amendment was approved by a vote of the membership at the October potluck. This vote and the election of the 2014 board of directors in December will be recorded in minutes of the two general meetings (which are potlucks when the membership votes) and posted on the website.

Planning for the 2014 WCPCA Membership Directory

On December 1st, WCPCA will begin compiling the list of its members for the 2014 Membership Directory. Only those who are members of the WCPCA are included and we asking that everyone renew by the end of November. By the time you read this item, those of you whose membership expires in 2013 will have received reminders about dues.

Others, who are on the email list only, may wish to join the group and be included in the directory. The directory serves as a local resource and networking list of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in the Eugene area, and their countr(y/ies) of service. (Note that the directory may not be used commercially.)

The directory is issued annually early in the calendar year as a .pdf file only and is emailed to members only.

There are several levels of membership dues. Individual dues are $15; family dues are $22. Dues are free for current students, RPCVs in their first year back from Peace Corps service, first time members of WCPCA, and currently serving PCVs.

To join or renew using the WCPCA website, follow the steps below.

1. Go to the membership form page of the website.

2. Complete the form with your name, address, countr(y/ies) of service, and indicate your membership type (individual, family, free) and method of payment. The form also gives you an opportunity to write a brief bio for inclusion in the directory.

If you don't owe dues check the box to indicate that and simply submit the form. If you owe dues, you may print the form and mail it in with a check or you may continue on the website to pay your dues through PayPal. You don't need a PayPal account to do this.

3. If you are paying by check, make it out to WCPCA and send it to WCPCA, P. O. Box 5462, Eugene, OR 97405. If you are paying through PayPal, WCPCA will be notified.

Those who belong to the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), may join or renew their membership in WCPCA through that organization.

Be sure to tell me if YOU DO NOT WANT to be included in the directory.

Miriam Aiken
WCPCA Membership Chair
(Philippines, 1965-1967)


Local job opportunity: Multicultural Outreach Coordinator
with Food for Lane County

SUMMARY of POSITION:  Develop strong and effective collaborations between FOOD for Lane County (FFLC) and diverse populations, with an emphasis on the Latino community.  Attend community events and disseminate information about FFLC services to diverse communities.

  Provide ongoing support and training in cultural sensitivity and service provision to all FFLC partner agencies.  Assist the Nutrition Education Coordinator in delivering hands-on cooking and nutrition education to Spanish-speaking low income community members, utilizing approved Cooking Matters and Shopping Matters curriculums.  Recruit, screen, and train volunteer instructors and assistants; and recruit class participants.  Cover front desk reception area for receptionist's lunch hours five days a week. 

The position is open until filled. Priority will be given to candidates who apply by Monday, November 25 at 5:00 p.m. TO APPLY: Please submit a current resume, cover letter, and completed FOOD for Lane County application found online.

For further information contact Karen Edmonds, Programs and Services Director | FOOD For Lane County P: 541.343.2822 | C: 541.246.4664 | 770 Bailey Hill Rd. | Eugene OR | 97402

Sale to support Thembanathi's work with HIV/AIDS affected children

WCPCA member, Julie Bosustow, wants the Peace Corps community to know of a fundraising activity that she's helping organize for Thembanathi (Hope with Us in Zulu), a non-profit organization that has been providing support, care, and hope for children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa since 2004. This year the organization plans to build a new early childhood education center for vulnerable children in a community that has had no services for young children.

To support Thembanathi there will be a South African Jewelry and Craft show and sale on Sunday, November 3rd, from noon to 6pm at the Covey Lane Clubhouse, 435 Covey Lane, Eugene. The clubhouse is the first building on the left as you enter the Quail Run community.

There will be a variety of hand-crafted items made by Zulu women in employment projects in an area of South Africa struggling with one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, as well the long-standing effects of inequality, poverty, and unemployment. For further information you are welcome to contact Julie at 541-844-1954.