The following news was shared with members of the RPCVs of Colorado in our May/June 2016 newsletter. We want to ensure everyone who supports the organization - either as a member or a frequent participant in our many activities - are aware of these upcoming changes. If you are not a member already, you can sign up here. If you are a member, you can login to our online membership database using the "Login" button at the upper right corner of our website.
Upcoming Changes with the RPCVCO
The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado (RPCVCO) are planning a few changes based on feedback received in our first ever survey conducted this past winter and on-going discussions at the board-level. These changes will be rolled out over the next year starting June 1, 2016.
First, thank you to everyone who responded to our survey and provided feedback. We received 230 responses, including feedback and ideas for events, outreach, and other activities. For instance:
In an effort to ensure the sustainability of RPCVCO as an organization, the board recently approved an increase in membership dues. Starting June 1, 2016, the RPCVCO membership dues will be:
The benefits of these dues are outlined below.
The Board of the RPCVs of Colorado are pleased to announce that we have nominated RPCVCO member Sue Fox for the John F. Kennedy Service Award for her tremendous work to establish a partnership between Peace Corps and Rotary International. We have included her nomination submission below.
Unfortunately, we also have some very sad news to share as well. It is with a great deal of sadness that we let you know that Sue passed away peacefully on Friday night after a year-long courageous battle with cancer. We will keep our membership updated on where you can send your condolences.
Please describe how the person you are nominating exemplifies one or more of the Peace Corps three goals.
On behalf of the Board of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado and its members, I am submitting this nomination for Sue Fox for the John F. Kennedy Service Award in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer category. Sue served in Liberia from 1968 to 1970 and has continued to fulfill the mission of Peace Corps throughout her life.
"Peace Corps volunteers and Rotarians....are bound by a common purpose: service." This quote, from Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, upon the signing of the formal letter of collaboration between Peace Corps and Rotary International, captures the very essence of Sue Fox.
Through her efforts to establish a formal partnership between Rotary International and the U.S. Peace Corps, Sue Fox exemplifies the third goal of Peace Corps and also assists Peace Corps and PCVs to achieve the other two goals. The formal agreement between the two organizations was finalized in May 2014 as a direct result of Sue’s hard work and determination. The partnership provides currently serving volunteers access to Rotary Club funding, subject matter expertise, and networks, to help fund Peace Corps partnership projects. Many of these projects provide local communities with an array of training and resource development assistance.
In the first year of the agreement, thousands of dollars were given in support of volunteer projects across three pilot countries, Togo, Thailand, and Philippines, including the creation of a clean water initiative in Togo, a book distribution project in Thailand, and the construction of latrines and a learning center for students with disabilities in the Philippines. In addition, her work has helped to connect currently serving volunteers with local Rotary Clubs in host countries, facilitating a better understanding of Americans among local host country Rotarians (over 650,000 worldwide) who are business and professional leaders in their communities. Lastly, Sue’s work in creating this partnership has raised awareness among more than 450,000 Rotarians in America about the people in countries where PCVs serve, the work of currently serving volunteers, and the mission of Peace Corps.
Regarding Sue’s work on the Rotary Peace Corps partnership, members of our community stated:
“Sue was the heart, the soul, the inspiration, the driving force, the “Get R Done” person who never wavered from our goal, which was achieved, of a partnership between Rotary and Peace Corps. One person did change the world and we all appreciate and thank Sue for what she has done.” Ted Bedelow, RPCV Liberia, Rotarian.
“Sue is the reason that Rotary and Peace Corps were able to work out a cooperative agreement, which will benefit both organizations and their volunteers, members, and alumni, from countries all over the world-forever.” Grant Wilkins, Rotary International Director 1993-1995, Denver Rotary Club President 1978-79.
“As District 5450 Chair of the Rotary Peace Corps Alliance, Sue worked diligently for several years to bring about the signing of the Letter of Collaboration between Rotary International and the Peace Corps in May of 2014. She is an outstanding human being.” Mary Kay Hasz, District Governor, Rotary District 5450.
“For more than 5 years, Sue worked tirelessly to convince Rotary International and the Peace Corps that an alliance between two organizations made great sense. The success of this historic collaboration is in great part due to the tireless efforts of Sue Fox. Without a doubt, both parties, and most importantly those we serve, will be better off as a result of our working together. Sue Fox was a visionary when she began working on this agreement.” Peter Ewing MD, District Governor 2014-2015, Rotary District 5450
“I am eternally grateful for all that Sue has done for Peace Corp and Rotary. I, at age of fifteen in high school in small town of Hamadan Iran, was one of the students of a PCV. It was a Peace Corp volunteer who taught me English and inspired me to look outside of the environment that I was in. I am indebted to Sue and all PCVs who have so amazingly served the world.” Abbas Rajabi, District Governor 2017-2018, Rotary District 5450.
Sue truly embodies the qualities of a Kennedy Service Award recipient. Her continued service demonstrates a lifelong commitment to promoting the goals and mission of Peace Corps and encourages others to also undertake this commitment.
Please describe how the person you are nominating demonstrates exceptional service and leadership.
Sue has demonstrated exceptional service and leadership through her work to establish a formal relationship between the U.S. Peace Corps and Rotary International, as well as in her in her professional life and service to her community. As a result of Sue’s leadership, Rotary International and the U.S. Peace Corps signed an initial letter of collaboration in May 2014. Subsequently, a new agreement was signed in May 2015 to boost the impact of development programs in the 60 countries where Rotary and Peace Corps overlap. Working with her own Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Denver, Sue has overseen the creation of Rotary grants to villagers in Fiji for clean safe drinking water and a 3,200 school book donation project for children in Costa Rica. Additionally, she has assisted with implementing grants that partnered with Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Togo and Burkina Faso.
Sue has given numerous presentations to Rotary Clubs and RPCV groups to (1) connect these organizations with currently serving volunteers to work on community development projects in Peace Corps countries; (2) encourage Rotarians to continue their service by joining Peace Corps after retirement; and (3) encourage newly returned Peace Corps volunteers to join local Rotary clubs and volunteer in their communities. She has also given presentations to departing Peace Corps volunteers to encourage them to connect with local Rotary clubs in their host country to engage members of the community and for assistance with funding projects.
In addition to her work on the Rotary – Peace Corps partnership, Sue is actively engaged in leadership and service with a variety of other organizations. Sue has been a member of the Rotary Club of Denver, Colorado’s oldest service club, for 15 years. Embodying Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self”, Sue has served as President from 2008-09, on the Club’s Board of Directors from 2006-09, and chaired the World Community Service Committee from 2006-07, which provides grants to development projects around the world. Sue has volunteered her time: (1) manning registration stations at 9News Health Fairs; (2) serving as a mentor to high school students through Denver Rotary’s high school scholars program; (3) volunteering at Junior Achievement programs at a local elementary school to inspire low-income children in our community to stay in school; (4) volunteering at Shining Stars events, which provides programs for children with cancer; and (5) hosting a Rotary youth exchange volunteer. Sue has also worked with the Friends of Liberia, a group of returned volunteers that supports humanitarian programs in Liberia, and shared her experiences as a volunteer.
Further, Sue has demonstrated exceptional service and leadership in her professional life as a lawyer. Over the years, Sue has provided pro bono legal work to community organizations including Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, New Cole Economic Development Corp, Women's Bean Project and the Associates of the Denver Botanic Gardens, as well as free legal advice to victims of the 2013 Colorado flooding. Sue has also served on the Board of Governors of the Colorado Bar Association, Section Council of its Real Estate Law Section, Chair of the Interprofessional Committee of Lawyers and Realtors, member of the Colorado Supreme Court's Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee and the D.U. Law School Mentor Program, Partners at Law.
Sue’s exceptional leadership and service, not only to Peace Corps but also to her community, exemplifies the qualities of a Kennedy Service Award recipient. Her passion for service and her leadership has served as an inspiration to everyone who knows her. Members of the RPCVs of Colorado have told us:
“Sue Fox has been dedicated to things that are special in her life: her family, her religion, Rotary and the Peace Corps and a few other endeavors. She is a friend to everyone and handles all situations with grace and good will. She is a special friend and a great example of the best ideals of Rotary and Peace Corps.” Steve Werner, former Chairman of the National Peace Corps Association, RPCV Korea.
“Sue has been an inspiring and guiding light for me in both my personal and professional career. Her dedication to seeing the Peace Corps Rotary Alliance come to fruition was just one example of the enormous tasks she has taken on with ease. I have enjoyed doing business with Sue, serving as an RPCV with Sue, and working on Rotary projects with Sue.” Zach Roesinger, RPCV Belize & Vanuatu, Rotarian.
"I have been involved in the RPCVs of Colorado since returning to the U.S. after Peace Corps in 2009 and have seen Sue in action at many events over the years. As an example, the RPCVs of Colorado work with local Peace Corps recruiters to provide a sendoff brunch that aims to connect Peace Corps invitees and nominees, as well as any friends or family, with RPCVs. Sue has been a key speaker at these events, providing information about how PCVs can connect with Rotary for support both during and after Peace Corps service. Her passion, commitment and enthusiasm for service to others shines through at these times because it is clear that her goal is to connect these future PCVs with the resources and support they need." Suzanne Smith, President and Advocacy Coordinator, RPCVs of Colorado.
“Sue has been an invaluable mentor and example to me in how to be a kind, warm, and strong female leader.” Arianne Burger, Former President, RPCVs of Colorado, RPCV Kazakhstan.
“Service above self is a statement Sue Fox lives by and her service and leadership is an example for others to follow.” Larry Gloss, RPCV Columbia & Peru.
The Board of the RPCVs of Colorado and its members, including Rotarians across Colorado, are proud to nominate Sue Fox for the John F. Kennedy Service Award.
It is time to vote for the next area of focus for the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado (RPCVCO). The focus area helps to guide what events, service projects, meeting topics, and donations to currently serving PCVs we undertake for the next three years (starting in spring 2016). Similar to the process used to identify Food Security as a focus area, members have an opportunity to vote on our next focus area. The focus area with the most votes will be revealed at the May 18th general meeting. At the meeting, we’ll have group discussions to generate ideas of speakers, service projects and other events related to the winning focus area. Vote for the next focus area at: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07ecbvwl0pil76uvnf/start
The two focus area choices are:
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Access to health care, cost of health care, food, education, and physical activity, along with many other things, can impact an individual’s health. In this focus area, RPCVCO would concentrate its event planning, grant making, and programming on particular aspects of health each year. Examples of health-focused events include: speakers that address health-related issues in Colorado, the U.S. and worldwide, and service projects such as passing out toothbrushes at a health fair or packing boxes of medical supplies that are donated overseas. This focus area is also in line with NPCA’s advocacy efforts to introduce and advance legislation supporting improvements in healthcare for RPCVs with service-related issues.
In recent years, promoting gender equality has been a top priority for many governments and organizations across the globe. UN Women defines gender equality as "the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys" emphasizing that "equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female." In this focus area, RPCVCO would concentrate its event planning, grant making, and programming on three sub-categories (1 per year) that serve to educate communities both locally and globally, increase bias awareness, and support efforts to fight inequality across a variety of related issues, including: violence against women, female health, economic empowerment, and access to education. Examples of gender equality-focused events include: speakers on school-based awareness campaigns or a story night with female RPCVs, and service projects such as a partnership with a local organization that works with immigrant or refugee women, or scholarship programs to fund educational activities overseas.
Statewide Outreach Chair
Based on our recent survey, we know that many of you would like to see activities happen outside of the Denver-metro area. To that end, we are creating a new Statewide Outreach position to help identify regional representatives and coordinate statewide activities. The person in this role does not need to live in the Denver-metro area. The board meets 6-times yearly, and these meetings can be attended in person or via Skype or phone.
Service Projects Chair
Interested in organizing volunteer opportunities for the Colorado RPCV community? We're looking for someone who can organize a variety of service project opportunities, from one-time projects to recurring activities. This includes working with the Statewide Outreach Chair to promote volunteer opportunities outside of the Denver metro area. This position also supports donation drives during events such as the annual holiday party.
Social Events and Special Events Chairs
The Board is seeking individuals interested in organizing our social events and special events. For social events, duties would include organizing the monthly happy hours, restaurant outings, and other social events such as bowling, hiking, or similar. For special events, duties would include planning, organizing, and implementing our major member events, including the annual Holiday Party, Summer Picnic, and general meetings. This position is separate from the Social Events Chair and will directly focus on planning RPCVCO special events and meetings. It is recommended these individuals live in the Denver Metro area.
All board members must fill general board duties (e.g. attend meetings, assist with event set up and clean up, represent the organization). The commitment is for a three year term.