West Cascade Peace Corps Association
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Summary of Bob Crites' presentation at the potluck on May 9, 2008

Our program at the May 9th potluck was an inspiring update on 'Students Helping Kids International (SHSKI)', a program founded by Bob Crites, an RPCV of Brazil and a former member of WCPCA. Several guests accompanied Bob to our potluck including his wife, Dalva, John Hicks and his wife Heliane Pinto from Brazil now of Eugene, their daughter, Ana Luisa, and Elizabete dos Santos Pereira who was the first recipient of a scholarship from SHSKI.

Bob founded SHSKI over ten years ago while working as a counselor in the Springfield public schools. He began with students and their parents and staff members at Briggs Middle School raising funds to provide school scholarships to children in Rio de Janerio. Promising students who would otherwise have been unable to get a good education are selected by Brazilian partners in the program who provide ongoing guidance and moral support.

Bob Crites

Bob has expanded the program to 31 schools and individual sponsors in the US. In 1998 at the request of Dr. Jane Goodall the program was extended to Tanzania.

Elizabete and Dalva Crites

The scholarships are offered to students in elementary school and continue through high school as long as the students make good progress. Currently an annual scholarship for a Brazilian student costs about $2,500 per year and for a Tanzanian student about $1,000. To date a total of 51 students have received scholarships.

Recently Bob has arranged for Maryland Partners of the Americas to take over management of SHSKI but he continues to be active in it. Since this new organization works only with programs in Brazil, the Jane Goodall Institute has taken over the administration of the Tanzanian scholarships.

Our guest, Elizabete, whose education was sponsored by SHSKI from first grade through high school, shared with us her personal experience as a scholarship recipient. Simply stated, the scholarship gave her the opportunity for a valuable education and many opportunities for professional work. This changed her life immeasurably.

A year ago she was half way through her senior year in high school in Brazil. This academic year she's studied as a senior at Springfield High School and lived with an American family in Springfield. In June she'll receive her high school diploma from Springfield HS. She's been fortunate also to have the support throughout the year of the Hick/Pinto family who brought a touch of Brazilian culture to her and her friends in this area.

Elizabete has been accepted and offered a scholarship to a university in Brazil. She'll begin her freshman year there in the fall.

Bob and Elizabete's presentation was a heartwarming testimony to the investment in human potential that was at least somewhat inspired by Bob's Peace Corps experience (editor's comment). Many, many thanks to Bob, Elizabete, and their friends for an inspiring story.

Bob Crites