The RPCVs of Colorado continue to serve our communities both home and abroad through service projects and networking events. We also continue to serve the communities of current Peace Corps Volunteers by funding grant requests to implement in their service. As of the end of September of 2014, the RPCVCO financial accounts have the following balances:
General Operating Fund (for use in paying general operating expenses): $3,786.60
Don Curtis Fund (for use in funding projects): $4,391.19
Ski Trip Fund (for use in paying the deposit for the annual ski trip): $117.12
These funds added together indicate that the RPCVs of Colorado have a total of $8,294.91 in the group's checking account.
During the year there are a number of activities which draw on the General Operating Fund. Here are a few of the changes we have made for the upcoming year (as approved by the Board of Directors in July, 2014)
1) Continue to have Welcome Home Dinners twice per year for newly returned volunteers as a way of connecting them with other returned volunteers. We are grateful to the Welcome Wagon volunteers for offering their homes as venue for these events, and for accepting the Board approved reimbursements of up to $75 per dinner. We know that you put so much more into these events than we can repay you for - - thank you!
2) Action committees: Last year the RPCVCO Board approved action committees for both the Welcome Wagon and the Social Committees. The RPCVCO Board is happy to cover the cost of the group members' coffee during these meetings as they plan events a few times a year.
3) End of year garden supervisor party - The RPCVs of Colorado continue to collaborate with Grow Local Colorado and community volunteer groups to maintain a vegetable garden in Civic Center park. The vegetables from the garden are donated to the Gathering Place, Denver's only daytime drop-in center for women, children and transgender individuals who are experiencing poverty or homelessness. This annual thank you party for the garden supervisors asks a maximum of $150 from the general operating fund. Thank you volunteers! You can learn more about Grow Local Colorado and The Gathering Place by visiting their websites at http://www.growlocalcolorado.org/and http://www.tgpdenver.org/.
4) Country Night: The RPCVCO regular meetings highlight a country or region of service a few times throughout the year. Once again, we are grateful for RPCVs who assist in presenting and preparing a small taste of the food from the country or region being highlighted. These meetings, which take place 4 times a year, result in a maximum of $100 total expense from the General Operating Fund as reimbursements for the food cost.
The Don Curtis Fund is used to provide funds to currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers so they can better implement their projects. The money from our annual calendar sales contributes to this fund, as do the specified generous donations of our group members, and the fund has continued to grow from year to year. Help us to spend these funds by letting any currently serving PCVs know they can request funds from the RPCVCO group for their overseas projects by applying for a grant on our website: http://www.rpcvcolorado.org/index.php/activities/don-curtis-fund/grant-application. The RPCVCO Board is grateful to be able to support the currently serving volunteers in this way.
The Ski Trip is expanding! Due to popular demand this year's annual ski trip will now have 2 cabins instead of one! This means that more RPCVs and families are able to celebrate together over this fun weekend at YMCA of the Rockies. This activity continues to be a self-sustaining activity with the RPCVCO Ski Trip Fund acting as a holding place or pass through account so we can pay the following year's deposit to YMCA of the Rockies in a timely manner prior to collecting the funds from the participants. Details about this year's ski trip are included in this newsletter.
Each year dozens of local teachers and professionals join us at the World Affairs Challenge as judges. Their role is essential to the success of the WAC in meeting our goal of fostering life long learners. Judges don’t only grade team presentations and collaborative questions. They end up learning a lot themselves!
Based on your feedback over the past several years, input from community judges, universities, and global companies, we have made some important changes:
The judging criteria for WAC will be modified to focus more heavily on rewarding 21st Century Skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, cultural awareness, and communication, all essential skills for tomorrow’s workers and leaders.
New judging criteria will be added to recognize the diversity of presentations, providing a more level judging field.
As always, serving as a judge is a purely voluntary effort. There is no registration cost. Coffee, breakfast, and lunch are complimentary. Judges will have the opportunity to spend the day interacting with fellow community leaders and volunteers, local NGOs, and our future leaders and problem solvers!
Judges must be available to stay for all of the judging portions of the event (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Judges are strongly encouraged to attend judge training:
February 5th and 9th, 2015
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
At the Posner Center for International Development
1031 33rd Street, Denver CO 80205
To sign up, visit the World Affairs Challenge website here: http://www.worldaffairschallenge.org/become-a-judge
On Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, President Obama signed the appropriations bill to fund most the government for the remained of fiscal year (FY) 2015, which goes until Sept. 1, 2015. Congress will still need to pass a final appropriations bill for Homeland Security, which will operate under a continuing resolution till Feb. 27, 2015. The final appropriation bill signed by President Obama for FY2015 totals $1.1 trillion and includes funding for Peace Corps.
Along with funding for Peace Corps, the passage of the appropriations bill included corrective language to implement the provisions set forth in the Peace Corps Equity Act (S. 2291; H.R. 4578). The Peace Corps Equity Act is designed to support female Peace Corps Volunteers in the same manner as other individuals serving overseas, by supporting the PCV if she seeks to terminate a pregnancy in the rare instances of rape, incest or life endangerment. The National Peace Corps Association (NCPA) has been leading efforts to pass the Peace Corp Equity Act for two years, which also had the support of the Peace Corps agency and the Obama administration. More information can be found in this NPCA press release. Supporters of Peace Corps are encouraged to send a thank you to members of Congress who led efforts to pass the Peace Corps Equity. Information on how to send these thank you messages can be found here.
Now that funding for Peace Corps for FY2015 has been secured, the focus will turn to advocating for increased funding for Peace Corps in FY2016. Supporters of Peace Corps can participate in these advocacy efforts by responding to any calls to action from the NPCA. As well, the National Day of Advocacy is Thursday, March 5, 2015, and is an opportunity for individuals to come together to meet with members of Congress in person to talk about the importance of Peace Corps and request continued and robust funding for Peace Corps. Unable to fly to Washington, D.C., to participate in person? Advocates can still participate on March 5 by emailing and calling members of Congress. More information on all of NPCA’s advocacy work can be found at: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/advocacy/.
The RPCV's of CO continue our tradition of spreading a little love on Valentine's Day. Last year, over 30 people donated their time and energy to prepare and serve meals for those in need. This year, we'll be volunteering for 7 shifts in Denver and Fort Collins; there's no better way to spend a day dedicated to love!
Denver Rescue Mission- Lawrence Street Shelter
Homeless men find a safe haven at the Lawrence Street Shelter, where over 300 warm beds await. A shower and hot meals are also offered for relief and comfort. Those who stay the night at the Lawrence Street Shelter also have the opportunity to seek help in recovery programs. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old. Anyone under 18 needs an adult chaperone. You will assist with serving breakfast and dinner for this emergency facility.
1130 Park Avenue West
Denver, CO 80216
Breakfast Meal Service
8 volunteers needed
Dinner Meal Prep
5 volunteers needed
The Crossing is a residential community providing long-term rehabilitation and transitional housing to individuals and families who desire to achieve a life of self-sufficiency and community contribution. Men, women and children caught in the cycle of poverty and homelessness are referred by various shelters and social service agencies, or seek out The Crossing independently. Volunteers must be at least 10 years old. Anyone under 18 needs an adult chaperone. You will be helping prepare and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
6090 Smith Road
Denver, CO 80216
Breakfast Meal Service
8 volunteers needed
Lunch Meal Service
5 volunteers needed
Dinner Meal Service
3 volunteers needed
Fort Collins Rescue Mission
In November 2012, the Denver Rescue Mission opened a facility in Ft. Collins. This facility provides beds for up to 75 homeless men and women. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. You will spend the afternoon helping their chef put together the evening meal, cleaning or organizing projects or serving dinner.
316 Jefferson Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
1 volunteer needed
Dinner Meal Service
3 volunteers needed
Would you like to share about your country of service?
Did you serve in the Eastern Caribbean?
Do you enjoy public speaking and/ or cooking for others?
For those not interested in helping out, but would like to learn more about the EC post, be sure to come to the next regular meeting on Wednesday, November 19th at 7:00 PM. We'll be meeting at the First Unitarian Society - 1400 Lafayette Street, Denver, CO 80218. If you do, you'll be sure to walk out having a greater sense of what it's like to serve in a country 1/6 the size of the state of Delaware.
ETHIOPIAN RPCV COLLECTION
AVAILABLE FOR SALE
RPCVs of Colorado, with support from the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), are working to schedule district office meetings with members of the Colorado congressional delegation in August and early September. The goal of these meeting is to express gratitude for continued support of Peace Corps, advocate on particular key issues and talk about some of the work RPCVs have done in Colorado.
NPCA’s District Office Meeting initiative is in its fourth year and is focused on helping all those who support Peace Corps meet with their members of Congress during the traditional summer congressional recess. Last year, NPCA member groups, advocacy coordinators, and other advocates met with at least 52 legislators in at least 18 states. The meetings lead to at least a dozen additional Democrat and Republican co-sponsors on key Peace Corps-related legislation.
Currently, meetings are being sought with Senator Mark Udall, Senator Michael Bennet and Representative DeGette. Once these meetings have been confirmed, information about the date, time, location and any other pertinent details will be shared on the RPCVs of Colorado website and Facebook.
The AmeriCorps NCCC Denver campus is having its second annual Life After AmeriCorps Day for our 170 *FEMA Corps Members on Thursday, May 29th. The end goal of this event is to have our members receive insight on possible life plans for after their term of service with AmeriCorps.
Many of our members have expressed interest in international service and career work, and we would love to respond to their interest by requesting the participation of Peace Corps in an International Discussion Table Workshop as part of Life After AmeriCorps Day. The International Panel would be an optional workshop for members to attend. This workshop will be offered twice, the times being (a) 9:00am-10:15am and (b) 10:30am-11:45am.
Workshop Format The format of this workshop will be a discussion table format. During both workshops, representatives from your organization will be able to sit down with small groups of FEMA Corps Members and have in-depth 15 minute discussions. Every 15 minutes, members will rotate tables in a structured, timed format. We estimate that there will be about 4 rounds for each workshop, which will give your organization an opportunity to speak with approximately 40-70 of our members throughout the day.
Topics to Cover We hope that during these discussions you will consider sharing information on one or more of the following topics:
Please also allow a few minutes for questions.
You do not need to have current openings. General information on opportunities is great.
Third Goal Opportunity
Opportunity Fair You are also invited to attend our Opportunity Fair, that same day (May 29th) from 2:30pm-5:00pm. The Opportunity Fair format is a modified job fair in which a diverse range of organizations meet with NCCC members to give them an idea of what it is like to work in their career field. Representatives from your organization will be able to set up a table among other invited organizations and meet with members as they walk through the fair. We hope that you will engage members in the same topics discussed during the International Discussion Table Workshop.
To sign up, please contact:
Lauren Dorosz | Ecuador 2008-2010
That's right. As the RPCVs of Colorado have begun to focus our energies on food security, we would like to take advantage of an excellent opportunity to learn about where some of our Colorado food is grown - the Eastern Plains of Colorado. The Pedal the Plains bicycle tour is an opportunity to do just that - learn about food and life in rural Colorado while cycling through our state's great plains. Riders can choose from a few options route including - a 5.5 mile family fun ride on September 20th, a one day 105-mile route on September 20th, or a 3-day ride going between three towns in the Eastern plains from September 19th - 21st. The 3-day ride spans stops in the towns of Wiggins, Fort Morgan and Sterling, Colorado.
The Pedal the Plains website states the following:
“Pedal the plains seeks to engage riders of all abilities, from seasoned cyclists to first-time riders, in an educational and recreational experience.”
“By participating in Pedal the Plains, cyclists will increase their awareness of the eastern plains by tasting food grown in the region, learning from local experts, exploring points of interest, meeting local farmers and ranchers and trying their hand at local crafts and farming techniques.”
The past two months featured multiple opportunities to demonstrate support for Peace Corps by advocating for strong funding in Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. The recent advocacy efforts resulted in a record breaking 178 signatures for the two bi-partisan Peace Corps funding letters – 151 signatures for the House letter and 27 for the Senate. In Colorado, our thanks goes out the following Senators and Representatives for their support of Peace Corps:
Senators Udall and Bennet who signed the Feinstein-Isakson Peace Corps Funding Letter.
Representatives DeGette, Perlmutter and Polis signed the 2014 Farr-Petri-Hona-Garmendi-Kennedy Peace Corps Funding letter.
On a more sober note, recent advocacy efforts also included the request for members of Congress to sign onto a letter seeking justice in the investigation into the murder of Kate Puzey, who was murdered in 2009 while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin. The Kate Puzey Letter asks the U.S. State Department, FBI and Peace Corps Office of Inspector General to be more actively involved in assisting the Beninese government in solving the murder case. The letter was signed by 188 members of Congress – 84 Senators and 104 Representatives – including Senators Udall and Bennet and Representative Perlmutter from Colorado.
More information about all of the recent advocacy efforts can be found on the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) website at http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/advocacy/. Thank you to everyone who contacted their members of Congress in the most recent calls to action. Watch for more calls to action as Congress continues to work on the FY2015 budget.