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

October 2014

Coming Events

  • October 15:Wednesday afternoon, 1:30 -3:30 pm, Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith will describe their Peace Corps service in Mexico, 2009-2012, at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI), Baker Center, 957 High Street, Eugene. All are welcome.

  • October 15, 16, and 17:U of O Fall Street Faire on campus, 10am to 4pm each day. Volunteers needed to work with the campus PC representative, Laurette Garner, to staff the Peace Corps booth to share information about their PC experience and the PC in general. See contact information in the article below and on the website's calendar.

  • October 24: Friday evening, 6-9 pm, the WCPCA potluck will be at the home of Dave and Dorothy Soper. Our program will be presented by Priscilla Almelda Dantas, a music student at the U of O, whose education has been supported by SHISKI, a non-profit founded by WCPCA member, Bob Crites. New members are especially invited.

    The Sopers' address is in the Membership Directory and will be included in the October calendar on the website. Please bring a dish to share. Plates, cups, and utensils will be provided. See the article below for more details.

  • October 27: 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.

  • November 11: Tuesday evening, 7-9 pm, the WCPCA bookgroup will meet to talk about Dancing with Gogos, A Peace Corps Memoir, by WCPCA member, Gary Cornelius. All are welcome. Meeting place is yet to be determined.

  • November 23: Sunday evening, 6-8 pm, WCPCA board meeting at the home of Dorothy Soper. All members are welcome.

  • November 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.

  • December 5: Friday evening, 6-9 pm, WCPCA potluck at the home of Tom and Nancy English. New members are especially invited. Details of the program will be posted on the website’s calendar and published in the newsletter later in the fall.

  • 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

FALL STREET FAIRE at the University of Oregon

It is once again fall and the leaves are starting to turn and that means thousands of eager students have returned to campus in search of what they will do upon graduation. The University's Fall Street Faire is a wonderful opportunity for returned volunteers to talk with new and graduating students about the exciting option of joining the Peace Corps.

As always, I am looking for some volunteers to help out with staffing our booth. This year we will be located somewhere on 13th Ave., most likely across from the Lillis Business Complex like last year. The fair takes place Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, October 15th to 17th. The booth will be open from 10am-4pm each day. Having two volunteers at a time is the most fun. Each shift will be approximately 3 hours and believe me the time flies.

You can fill in your time on the link below, or simply send me an email with your available times. Thank you in advance for your assistance with this and continuing the great collaboration between the University of Oregon Peace Corps recruiting efforts and the WCPCA. I look forward to seeing you there.

Scheduling link: http://doodle.com/8g9ixs5mrx5xbk8s


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

Sale of International Calendars

WCPCA’s sale of international calendars designed and published by the RPCV group of Madison WI is off to a robust start. This activity has long been an important WCPCA fundraiser, contributing approximately $500 annually to our funding of humanitarian projects.

Young herder in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia

With photos from current and former Peace Corps host countries and day by day listings of holidays from countries and cultures throughout the world, the calendar is a work of art and a resource that celebrates ties of friendship created by Peace Corps service. This is a valuable reference in every home and will make an excellent gift to your internationally minded family members and friends.

WCPCA ordered 125 calendars to sell this year. Thirty five calendars have already sold including ten to the Duck Store. The latter sale is a welcome first for us. The price of an individual calendar is $12. Five or more calendars purchased together brings the price to $10 per calendar.

I'll have calendars to sell at WCPCA events. You can also buy them directly at Dorothy Soper's home or order them on the shop page of the website and have one or more mailed to you. The mailing price is $3 per calendar. To arrange to buy a calendar directly or for other inquiries please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org and write "Calendar" in the subject line. I'll respond to your inquiries.

We sold out last year before the end of the year. Don't wait! Buy your calendars in October. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Gary Cornelius, Board secretary
(South Africa, 2012-2013)

October Potluck

Our fall potluck on Friday evening, October 24th, 6-9 pm, will be a good occasion for WCPCA to welcome several new members some of whom have recently moved to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon or start new jobs. Their recent Peace Corps service has taken them to fascinating countries including Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, China, Senegal, South Africa, Macedonia, Peru, Ghana, and Ecuador.

Our program will feature a presentation by Priscilla Almelda Dantas, a music student at the U of O. Priscilla's education in Brazil and the US has been supported by SHISKI, a non-profit organization founded by WCPCA member, Bob Crites. Priscilla will describe her years growing up in Brazil and her transition to the U of O, and conclude by playing selected piano pieces.

U of O Peace Corps representative, Laurette Garner, will be available to explain the new application process for the Peace Corps which is entirely online and permits applicants to indicate, if they wish, their preferred country of service and job.

The potluck will be at the home of Dave and Dorothy Soper whose address is in the Membership Directory and will be included in the October calendar.

WCPCA Volunteers at FLC's "Empty Bowls" Fundraiser

A strong contingent of WCPCA members and a friend enjoyed dinner together and then joined the clean up crew last week for the annual "Empty Bowls" fundraising dinner and auction sponsored by Food for Lane County. Sheyla Norte, FLC volunteer coordinator, gratefully acknowledged our presence and efforts.

WCPCA volunteers at the "Empty Bowls" fundraiser

Our appreciation for this work goes to Gary Cornelius, Rachel Cummings, Julia Harvey, David Jones, Kathleen Kendrick, George Larson, Justin Overdevest, Jeem Peterson, Tricia Tate, Rolly Thompson and Wayne Thompson.

James Cloutier, Board member
(Kenya, 1964-66

RPCV Eugene: West Cascade Peace Corps Association Facebook Page

Don't forget to check the RPCV Eugene: West Cascade Peace Corps Association Facebook Page for updates and to connect with fellow RPCVs!  Anyone can post photos and information to the page.  We'd love to see your photos of RPCV events, RPCVs socializing, #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) pictures of your Peace Corps service and anything else you'd like to share! 

Check the page for upcoming RPCV events including campus events, volunteer opportunities and Happy Hour and social events! 

Denise Silfee, Board member and Facebook page chair
(Thailand, 2011-2013),

Welcome to New WCPCA Members

WCPCA welcomes new members who have joined the organization in the last month:

Sophia Polasky, Ghana, 2006-2008
Nancy Glines, Macedonia, 2012-2014
Nicolette Ulrich, Senegal, 2011-2013

We look forward to meeting them at our fall activities.

Jennifer Knowles, Board member and Membership chair
(Macedonia 2009-2011)

Planning for the 2015 board

At its September meeting the board talked about identifying individuals to serve on the 2015 board. Several current board members plan to continue but we’ll need new “at large” board members as well as a new treasurer and membership chair. We’ll also need one or more people to handle the planning of our potlucks.

The board will soon appoint a nominating committee to identify new candidates for the 2015 board. As part of the nominating process, the board plans to hold an informational meeting in November to explain the responsibilities of board service and details of individual jobs to interested members.

If you are interested in serving on the nominating committee or the board, please contact Dorothy Soper or send an email to info@westcascadepca.org and write "2015 board" in the subject line.

This form of volunteer service is essential for the organization and, most board members feel, rewarding to the individuals. Thanks in advance to those who will consider serving in these roles.

WCPCA board

WCPCA Business Update

The WCPCA board met on September 28th. Highlights of the meeting not mentioned elsewhere in the newsletter are listed below.

Peace Corps application process: The U of O Peace Corps representative, Laurette Garner, described the new Peace Corps application process and showed the board relevant portions of the PC’s website. The process is entirely online. An important new feature is that applicants may specify the country or countries where they would like to work and apply for a specific job that is listed and matches their skill set.

The PC website will provide information about PC sites and jobs for background information for these choices which are available but not required. All interviews with applicants will be conducted by PC staff in Washington DC via Skype or telephone.The goal is to provide a shorter application process and a quicker response time from the Peace Corps.

Laurette will be available at the October potluck to describe this new process to the membership.

Membership form and listings: The board will revise slightly the membership form on the WCPCA website. The revised form will accommodate better those who join or renew their membership as a couple and who have different last names and/or contact information. The revised form will have separate spaces for each member of a couple to enter his or her name and contact information.

The new form will probably be posted on the website in November. Board members hope that it will serve our membership better and invites your comments and suggestions to guide us.

Beginning in 2015 everyone, including both members of a couple, will be listed individually in the Membership Directory. This change will make creating the directory a far more efficient process.

Treasurer's report: Treasurer, Bart Briefstein, reported that as of 9/26/14 the combined balance for the checking and savings accounts is $3,348. The balance in the account for funds restricted to use for awarding grants to humanitarian projects is $671.

The balance in WCPCA's endowed fund, the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund managed by the Oregon Community Foundation, is $31,539 as of 6/30/14. Annual distributions of this fund, of approximately $1,300, are used exclusively to fund humanitarian projects.

Membership update: Membership chair, Jennifer Knowles, reported that WCPCA has approximately 150 members and sent a spreadsheet listing all members with contact information to the board.

Of the full membership, 100 members pay dues. We have three categories of membership that don't require dues (active PCVs, students, and those in their first year of membership). To meet our fixed expenses we need renewals from all dues paying members. Memberships for about half of this group will expire between mid-September and the end of the year. The board encourages everyone in the group to renew. We need you at our social and volunteer functions and we also need the dues' revenue. We extend our appreciation to you in advance.

Amending the WCPCA constitution and by laws: At its June meeting the WCPCA board voted to propose several amendments to the WCPCA constitution and by laws to bring these documents up to date. The proposed changes were published in the July-August newsletter which has been distributed to the membership and is posted on the "News" page of the website, www.westcascadepca.org. The current consitution and by laws are also posted on the website.

Members are encouraged to read the information before the October 24th potluck when they will vote on the board’s proposals. Those who have questions or would like to discuss any of the recommendations are encouraged to talk to a board member before the potluck date. There will be very little time for discussion at the potluck. The board will appreciate member support.

Funding for the Peace Corps: letter to President Obama

The WCPCA board approved President Julia Harvey's signing a letter to President Obama urging a higher level of funding for the Peace Corps in fiscal year 2016. The letter was drafted by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), signed by 106 RPCV organizations, and sent to the White House in early September. Both RPCV organizations in Oregon (Eugene and Portland) signed. You’ll find the full text of the letter below. For further information please consult the NPCA website, http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org.

September 10, 2014

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

Dear Mr. President,

1900 L Street NW, Suite 610
Washington DC 20036
phone 202.293.7728
fax 202.293.7554
web PeaceCorpsConnect.org

The Next Step in Changing the World

As representatives of 106 member groups of the Peace Corps community, comprising more than 25,000 individuals, we appeal to you to lead our nation forward by seeking robust, increased funding for the Peace Corps in your Fiscal Year 2016 budget submission to Congress.

We are greatly appreciative of your recent public service announcement urging Americans to consider joining the Peace Corps. We have no doubt that your announcement – coupled with recent reforms to simplify, speed up and increase transparency in the application process – will result in a surge in applications from citizens inspired by your call to service.

We also believe it is imperative that the Peace Corps have the resources to respond to this surge. This will require your leadership. That leadership begins with a strong Peace Corps funding request in your FY 2016 budget.

Mr. President, you have been a champion in the promotion of volunteerism. During your initial campaign for the presidency, you consistently spoke of expanding these opportunities. This includes your article in the Fall, 2008 edition of the National Peace Corps Association magazine, WorldView, in which you wrote "We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011."

While this goal was not achieved, we must also point out that the current number of Peace Corps Volunteers and trainees in the field (approximately 7,200) is actually less than the number of serving Volunteers and trainees when you took office (approximately 7,300).

Your recently confirmed Peace Corps Director, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, is prepared to propel the Peace Corps forward with a strong, visionary, yet practical agenda. But she needs you to fight for the resources necessary to allow the Peace Corps to reach its full potential.

As citizen-ambassadors for peace, friendship, collaboration and understanding, Peace Corps Volunteers and the more than 215,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers continue to offer and demonstrate there are global alternatives to conflict and violence.

The privilege of serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer also prepares many Americans to be competitive employment candidates in a global marketplace. Robust funding for the Peace Corps directly empowers more Americans to find meaningful employment, which meets your administration's goal of strengthening our nation's economy. President Obama, we are ready to raise our voice and build upon your call to service.

But we need you to lay the foundation during your final two years in office. We need you to urge Congress to provide a strong increase in funding for the Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2016.

We thank you for considering this request and look forward to reinforcing your request for robust Peace Corps funding in the year to come.


106 RPCV organizations listed