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

February 2014

Coming Events

  • February 23: Sunday evening, 7-9 pm, WCPCA board meeting at Dorothy Soper's home. Her address is in the Membership Directory. All members are welcome.

  • February 24: 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.

  • February 25: Tuesday evening, 6-7:30 pm, Peace Corps week panel discussion, Willamette Hall 110, U of O campus. See the article below for details.

  • March 3: Monday evening, 7-9 pm, the book group will discuss Dodging Machetes: How I Survived Forbidden Love, Bad Behavior, and the Peace Corps in Fiji by Lutwick Will (2014). The meeting venue will be announced in the March newsletter. Everyone is welcome.

  • March 24: 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.

  • April 4: Friday evening, 6-9 pm, the WCPCA potluck will be at the home of Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith. Laurette Garner (Madagascar 2004-2006), the U of O Peace Corps recruiter, will tell us about her Peace Corps experiences and her recruiting activities on the U of O campus.

    Please bring a dish to share for an evening of friendship and fun. See the article below for more details.

  • April 12: Saturday lunch through the afternoon. WCPCA will host the annual meeting of representatives of the five northwest RPCV organizations. We'll welcome visitors from Portland, Seattle, Spokane, and Boise.

    Volunteers are need now to plan and organize the event. All WCPCA members are invited to attend. See details in the first article.

  • 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 keeps the Lane County RPCV community apprised of WCPCA's coming events, ongoing activities, business affairs, and community activities judged to be of general interest to the local Peace Corps community.

Submissions to Reconnections are welcome and may be emailed to info@westcascadepca.org. The WCPCA board of directors reserves the right to select items for publication.

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

Regional Meeting of Northwest RPCV Groups

Hi All,

We will be holding the Regional Meeting of the five northwest RPCV groups (Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Boise, and Eugene) at the U of O Many Nations Longhouse on Saturday afternoon, April 12th. If you have any suggestions for the agenda or if you want to help plan the meeting please contact me at info@westcascadepca.org and write "regional meeting" in the subject line.

Once we know how many representatives from the other organizations are coming, then we will begin arranging to accommodate them.

Thanks to everyone who has already sent suggestions.

Julia Harvey, President
(Tonga, 1990-1993)

Appreciation for the January Potluck

Our enthusiastic thank you goes to Joyce Leader who offered us a warm welcome to her home for the January potluck. About 30 of us enjoyed a festive dinner to welcome the new year. Our engaging program was a collaboration of a dozen members who contributed to a slide show documenting their Peace Corps service.

We learned about PCV activities from the 1960s through recent years which means from the days when we drove jeeps and motor scooters through current times in which computers and cell phones are standard equipment. Peace Corps world maps created around the world were prominent. Pluck and resilience shown through from across the years.

Below are photos from our program and also one of our comfortable grouping to view the slides and listen to the narration. We thank Maggie Keenan for organizing the slide show.



Great program!

WCPCA board

Peace Corps Week Panel Discussion: Stories from Returned Volunteers

Celebrate Peace Corps Week! Join us to learn more about other Peace Corps Volunteers' experiences and to contribute to our Q and A session afterwards. Our three panelists will include Jennifer Knowles, who served in Macedonia, Denise Silfee, who served in Thailand, and Ben Pellegrom, who served in Ukraine. We may also Skype-in a volunteer currently serving in Fiji. Panelists will tell a brief story from a part of their service in the Peace Corps.

The story themes will include: a story of a cultural exchange, a story about a project completed in country, and a story about bringing Peace Corps service home. Pravin Mallavaram, the Recruiter from Portland, will be in attendance as well as Janet Allen, who is the Regional Manager for the Seattle Peace Corps office. We encourage RPCV attendance and hope that this will be a celebratory Peace Corps Week event!! Come one, come all!

Note, Peace Corps Week is February 24 - March 1 and celebrates President Kennedy's establishment of the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961.

Panel discussion details

When: February 25th 2014, 6-7:30 pm

Where: Willamette Hall 110- University of Oregon

Willamette Hall is on 13th Avenue across the street from the EMU. You can't drive to this location. Parking is available on Agate Street, 15th Avenue, and other nearby streets. Most street meters must be fed until 8 pm. Free parking in unreserved slots is available after 6 pm in university parking lots.

To view and download a U of O campus map click here.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions!

Laurette Garner (Madagascar, 2004-2006)
University of Oregon Peace Corps Representative


April Potluck

The next WCPCA potluck will be held on Friday evening, April 4th, 6-9 pm, at the home of Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith. Laurette Garner, the UO Peace Corps Recruiter, will speak about her PC experiences in Madagascar (2004-2006) and about upcoming PC campus activities. Please bring a dish to share for an evening of friendship and fun.

Juliet and Charles' address is in the Membership Directory and will be included with the potluck listing on the calendar section of the website.

Juliet Bender, Program Cochair
(Mexico, 2009-2012)

Update on WCPCA Business

2014 WCPCA Board of Directors Elected

Members present at the January potluck elected the WCPCA 2014 board of directors. This election usually takes place in the fall but was postponed to January due to the cancellation of the December potluck. Members of the 2014 are listed below and on the Contacts page of the website. The board expects to have four to five meetings this year. Dates and venues are available in the newsletter and on the website. All members are welcome to attend.


President: Julia Harvey, (Tonga, 1990-1993)
Vice President: Juliet Bender, (Mexico, 2009-2012)
Secretary: Gary Cornelius, (South Africa, 2012-2013)
Treasurer: Position not yet filled.
Ex officio: Laurette Garner, (Madagascar, 2004-2006), U of O Peace Corps Recruiter

At large board members

James Cloutier, (Kenya, 1964-1966)
Jennifer Knowles, (Macedonia, 2009-2011)
Elke Richers, (Peru, 2010-2012)
Howard Schuman, (Thailand, 1968-70; Malaysia training staff, 1973)
Dorothy Soper, (Ghana, 1963-1965)

Juliet and Elke are program co-chairs. Jennifer is the membership chair. Dorothy works with Deb Jones to edit the newsletter. Deb oversees the website.

Looking for a treasurer for 2014

The board is still looking for a treasurer for 2014. This is an important job that has been effectively streamlined by recent treasurers. Our accounts are maintained on spreadsheets and banking is done online. Deposits to the WCPCA accounts at OCCU are usually made by people other than the treasurer. For someone familiar with a computer and spreadsheets, this job can be performed at home in approximately two hours per month. A candidate will need access to a computer, either a PC or a Mac will work, and mid-level computer skills.

If you are interested in learning more about this position, please contact Wayne Thompson at info@westcascadepca.org and write Treasurer in the subject line. Wayne is the nominating committee for board positions this year. We'll appreciate our membership's support in this search. Many thanks in advance.

2014 Membership Directory

This month the board expects to publish the 2014 Membership Directory that will list all members who have agreed to have their names and Peace Corps service and contact information included. There will also be a listing of members by country of service. The inclusion of approximately 130 members, many with bios, will make the directory an excellent networking tool for the local Peace Corps community.

The directory will be in the format of a .pdf document that will be emailed to members only. Please save this document for future reference! New members who join later in the year will also receive a copy of the directory. Individuals may print their own copy which will be about twenty pages long. WCPCA does not give or sell its membership list to any outside organization.

We'll have a cut off for inclusion in the directory sometime in February. If you need to renew your membership or if you are planning to join WCPCA, please do so soon so that you'll be listed in the directory.

WCPCA board

Update from NPCA: Budget allocations and requests for the Peace Corps

The information below is from the NPCA website, www.peacecorpsconnect.org, 2/2/14.

President, Congress Approve $23 million increase for the Peace Corps:  In January 2014, Congress gave final approval to and the President signed a $1.1 trillion spending package for the current fiscal year (FY 2014).  Included in that budget was $379 million for the Peace Corps.  This 6.5 percent increase represented the first funding increase for the agency in four years and fully restored funds that were cut during the sequester.  

President's Budget to Congress Delayed until early March:  The White House has announced that the President will not be submitting his Fiscal Year 2015 budget (which will include his Peace Corps funding request) to Congress until March 4th.

NPCA Member Groups Ask President to Support the Peace Corps:  More than 100 member groups of the National Peace Corps Association sent the letter below to the President urging strong funding for the Peace Corps when he submits his Fiscal Year 2015 budget to Congress.

At its October meeting the WCPCA board voted to support the NPCA's advocacy for the Peace Corps' budget. On behalf of the organization, President, Julia Harvey, was a signatory to the letter below. More than 100 NPCA member groups (RPCV and Friends of... organizations) signed the letter.

December 2, 2013

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As representatives of 103 member groups of the Peace Corps community, we ask you to revive the call to service in the Peace Corps by seeking robust Peace Corps funding in your Fiscal Year 2015 budget request and moving Peace Corps funding back towards its Fiscal Year 2010 high-water mark of $400 million.

We applaud your July 15, 2013 Memorandum on Expanding National Service. We are pleased that representatives of the Peace Corps are included on your task force on expanding national service. We strongly urge that task force recommendations for expansion include a robust commitment to expanded international service - including and especially service in the Peace Corps.

In your memorandum, you note "National service and volunteering can be effective solutions to national challenges and can have positive and lasting impacts that reach beyond the immediate service experience."

We fully agree and are proud of the role Peace Corps Volunteers have played in demonstrating our nation's cost-effective commitment to global engagement that promotes peace through collaborative development assistance, friendship and understanding.

At the same time, tens of thousands of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) serve as a daily reminder of the ongoing service commitment our community makes here at home. A 2011 survey of RPCVs confirmed this. Sixty percent of RPCVs reported their service influenced their choice of career. For two-thirds of those respondents who served in the 2000s, that choice involved continued service in the education or non-profit sectors. Many others reported working in the areas of government service, international development, health care and business.

While we appreciate the significant fiscal challenges our nation faces, we also believe in the significant return on investment our Peace Corps Volunteers provide to our nation.

We firmly believe that one tangible way you can advance your national service agenda is to request a significant increase in Peace Corps funding and reverse the recent downward trend in the number of volunteers serving overseas.

Mr. President, we thank you for considering this request, and wish you the very best.


Julia Harvey, President
West Cascade Peace Corps Association, Eugene, OR

NPCA's 10th Annual National Day of Action

Join us on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 for the 10th Annual National Day of Action! For the past nine years, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) has called upon the Peace Corps community to unite for a National Day of Action.  On that day, all supporters of the Peace Corps are urged to reach out to their members of Congress to support a strong and vibrant Peace Corps. Join us on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 for the 10th Annual National Day of Action!

For the past nine years, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) has called upon the Peace Corps community to unite for a National Day of Action.  On that day, all supporters of the Peace Corps are urged to reach out to their members of Congress to support a strong and vibrant Peace Corps.

Do I have to be in Washington D.C. to participate?

No, you do not have to come to Capitol Hill to participate in the National Day of Action. We encourage as many activists as possible to send letters, make phone calls, and lobby their Congressmen at home.  Be a National Day of Action leader in your community!  Check out our "Things You Can Do From Home" document.

While phone calls and emails are sent to Capitol Hill, a contingent of advocates converge on Capitol Hill for a day full of meetings with Senators, Congressmen/women, or other congressional staff.

What were the impacts of the National Day of Action in 2013?

2013 saw the largest Day of Action so far.  Along with lots of communication from all around the country, over 90 advocates were on Capitol Hill. Coming from 25 states, our advocates participated in nearly 150 congressional meetings, including 88 constituent meetings and 43 meetings with new members of Congress.  On top of that, information packets were distributed to all 535 congressional offices.