Returned Peace Corps
 Volunteers of South Florida



IMPORTANT


NOTICE


The Florida  Solicitation of Contributions Act requires anyone who solicits donations from people in the State of Florida to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and renew annually.


Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida, Inc.,Registration #CH43538, has complied with the registration requirements of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes, the Solicitation of Contributions Act.  A copy of the Official Registration and Financial Information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling 800-435-7352. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the State of Florida.


Prospective donors should contact the FDACS toll-free hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or use the online Check-A-Charity tool to verify registration and financial information.


For more information about a charity, you can also visit any of the following website:


https://www.guidestar.org


Guidestar has awarded Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida, Inc. it's Goal Seal of Transparancy.





Welcome to everyone who visits our website, and

especially to those of you who live, work and/or study outside of the United States.

Calendar

18 Feb 2023 8:30 AM • 2501 SW 32 Terrace Pembroke Park, FL 33023
25 Feb 2023 8:30 AM • Everglades National Park via Homestead, Florida
03 Mar 2023 5:30 PM • Berries In The Grove, 2884 SW 27 Ave, Coconut Grove, Miami, FL 33133

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Seal of Transparancy

RPCVSF has achieved a Gold Seal of Transparency by charity evaluator Guidestar.org and is is 28% complete toward achieving their Platinum Seal of Transparency.


Thank You


The Board of Directors of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida, Inc. wishes to express appreciation on behalf of all members to those who have donated to RPCVSF. Donations facilitate special events such as the ChangeMaking Awards and the annual outing to the Everglades National Park for kids from homeless shelters.


Thank you for thinking of us.



Thank you to Amazon and their contribution to RPCVSF of over $1000 through the AmazonSmile program. It is with regret that Amazon is discontinuing the AmazonSmile program.

NEWS NOTES


January 10th, 2023 By Greg Zell (Nigeria) It is with sadness we note the passing of ROBERT ANDERSON (Gabon 1; Ghana) last year. Bob was one of our founders and second President. Gabon 1 was a school building project and was famously featured in a National Geographic spread. It was also infamously the only all male Peace Corps project. The plan was for a team to build a school and then move on to the next site. PC did not think women could live so itinerantly. Little did they know…. A few years later Bob reupped for Ghana. His stay was shortened when he returned home emaciated by Ghanaian cuisine. He was on hand to receive our first Lorret Miller Ruppe Award from NPCA for best RPCV project in the nation.


With additional sadness, we note the passing of Sallye Jude this year. She was a well-regarded preservationist. She bought the Miami River Inn when it was a run-down dump, restored it, and ran it as a b and b. Our board met there for several years and we held a few events there over the years.


A happier note: Director Trent Blare (Ecuador) In the November election, Trent’s father was reelected to the South Dakota House of Representatives. This is proof the old canard no one lives in South Dakota is wrong.


We had a nice holiday party on December 17, 2022, with over 45 folks. Unfortunately, it rained and no one took pictures for the website and newsletters.


Expanding Opportunities for Service


Peace Corps is excited to offer this chance to connect Returned Peace Corps Volunteers with Peace Corps host countries.


The Virtual Service Pilot is a distinct opportunity. Participants are private citizens who donate their time by engaging virtually to contribute to the mission of the Peace Corps.


Participants spend 5-15 hours per week collaborating with Host Country Counterparts on tasks and advancing the mission of the Peace Corps through meaningful virtual engagement.


Subscribe to Virtual Service Pilot email updates

Cooking and Conversation Club - South Korea 

    Flag of South Korea.svg


November 19, 2022 - We had a great time at Dave's home on Saturday, learning how to prepare and cook Korean Bar B Q.  Those that attended were Dave,  Deborah Paris, Mary and George Lambert, Leslie and Ted Dieffenbacher, Tim and Hyon Obrien, and Subrata Basu. 


Besides the Pork, Chicken and Beef we grilled, everyone brought and shared some really great dishes. The weather was perfect...... and it was great to talk with and to share our thoughts about everything from golf to crossword puzzles.

We are planning another cooking and conversation in January.......keep checking the web page for details.




October 1, 2022                 Changemaking Education Awards


                                                 For more info Click


                                        Changemaking Education Award

Travel Bargoons in the New Year 


December 8, 2022 - Travel trends are manifesting themselves. Land packages are increasing in price but air fares seem relatively stable despite inflation and soaring fuel prices. Nevertheless, we do see the occasional bargain for us to ponder.


OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) is offering some interesting trips and cruises with no single supplement. Remember they run out of single spaces very quickly. Travel and RPCV friend are using 2 of them on our Morocco excursion the end of January. This is my 7th trip with this fine company. Their Ultimate Africa package cannot be surpassed.


Why not consider going to London for the coronation? Let Travel know your interest and we can put a package together. London sights require a lot of walking which arthritis prevents Travel doing. He has seen most of the sights and can relax in the refreshments area or gift shop.


OR you can do it yourself. Check out tours-International.com for a 6 night very basic visit. They do not mention the location of their hotels. In my youth I have tried reasonably priced London hotels and found they could be el dumpo in the boondocks. Do not overlook offered upgrades.


Be careful when using the words “the city”. The City is what Brits call the financial district of London. The Bank of England does not have accommodations or individual accounts. You will not be able to get near Westminster Abbey but you will still have the best seat in the house. Every pub and restaurant will have a TV. There will even be Jumbotrons at many intersections in central London.


Online International Calendar purchases can be made here:

CALENDAR

Coupon Code PC4RPCVSFreduces your cart total by $1  ... and RPCVSF receives a referral fee.


The International Calendar is one of the ways the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Madison, WI group works to fulfill Peace Corps’ third goal: to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. The cover of the 2023 calendar features novice monks scurrying along a terrace of a pagoda in Myanmar.  Countries featured monthly are: NepalGhanaChinaArmeniaHaitiDominican RepublicTanzaniaBoliviaUkraineCambodiaEthiopia, and Iran.  The calendar, as well as the website, is packed with information.


Madison continues to offer the online sales program begun 2 years ago in response to Covid.  By using Coupon Code PC4RPCVSF, you will receive a $1 discount from your cart total, plus RPCVSF receives a referral fee.  Inflation has not reached the calendars ... they remain at $15 each … $14 if you buy 3-6, $10 if you buy 7- 30.  Inflation, however, has affected shipping with the cost to ship one calendar at $4; however the cost to ship 2 is only $5 and the unit cost continues to decrease.


Thanks for your support (very much appreciated)

July 16, 2022 The RPCVSF Summer Picnic at Crandon Park with about 45 Folks


























UKRAINIAN ACTION

Like Here for Ukrainian Action Info


RPCV Alliance for Ukraine


Click Here for Information




RPCVSF Members Volunteer With Feeding South Florida



Those volunteering: L Geiter, C Bush, G Fitzpatrick, M Lamberts, A Siegel, T Majher, D Garcia  Missing from photo: M Bush


Food insecurity is defined as not knowing where your next meal is coming from.  Over 11% of the people in South Florida are food insecure. Feeding South Florida is one of the largest agencies addressing the food insecurity problem.


One of the of the RPCVSF group projects approved by the Board this year was to provide volunteer assistance to Feeding South Florida. The first group of 8 RPCVSF members joined about fifteen volunteers from other groups and a few individual volunteers for a three-hour shift at Feeding South Florida at their warehouse in Pembroke Park on Saturday, January 22nd.


Dave Garcia and Alan Siegel volunteered to clean up and sort a large donation of pet products when others failed to step forward. The rest of the group volunteered to work as food inspectors, ensuring that food donated by supermarkets, other companies and individuals was in good packaging and that the “best by date” was within a modified expiration date.


The inspected food then moved to a sorting team then a repackaging team so the food could be sent to community kitchens and pantries. At the end of our shift, not only had all the pet products been sorted, but the inspection, sorting and repackaging teams had processed 19,000 pounds of food (9.5 tons!), which translates about 15,000 meals. After the session most of the team went to Cilantro, a nearby Thai restaurant for lunch.

The plan is to provide a volunteer team to work at Feeding South Florida each month. Our next appointment is Saturday, February 12th.  New members can be added to the group, but at least a few days before. We will have a date for March soon. Watch the RPCVSF BLOG which is just above for dates and details. If anyone has questions about volunteering for Feeding South Florida, please contact Larry Geiter at lgeiter@gmail.com.


ABOUT FEEDING SOUTH FLORIDA

Feeding South Florida is a member of the Feeding America network of food banks and the leading domestic hunger-relief organization serving Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Providing support for 25 percent of the state’s food insecure population, its mission is to end hunger in South Florida by providing immediate access to nutritious food, leading hunger and poverty advocacy efforts, and transforming lives through innovative programming and education.

 

Feeding South Florida distributed over 119 million pounds (99 million meals) of food last year, to over 1 million individuals through direct-service programs and a local network of approximately 300 nonprofit partner agencies.

Habitat for Humanity


Our president had the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity  during the week of Feb. 14  thru the 18.  While attending the Building Blitz of eight Homes in the South Dade  County Area he met and enjoyed working with Sam Hopkins a returned Peace Corps volunteer ( Guatemala 2013-2015 ) who works for and  is part of the Saff at H4H.


 If you have never volunteered to help out at Habitat for Humanity, you have missed a really fun and rewarding opportunity. Construction skills are not necessary, the seasoned staff enjoying training and making the volunteers feel welcome. 

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Hopefully we will be able to sign up a number of returned Peace Corps volunteers for the next Building Blitz Habitat for Humanity initiates. Information about further opportunities to volunteering will be forth coming. 




For Info about Upcoming Virtual Peace Corps Recruitment Events, Click


Peace Corps Recruiter Updates



Baked for the November 6, 2021 RPCVSF Board Meeting




The RPCVSF December 2021 Annual Holiday Party












Thanks for Hosting Ana!







From Left to Right

Saif Ishoof, Vice President for Engagement, FIU

Commissioner Eileen Higgins, Miami Dade County, District 5

David Garcia, President, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida

Mark B. Rosenberg, President, FIU

Dr. Jill Beloff Farrell, Dean of the Adrian Dominican School of Education, Barry University

Dr. Hilary Landorf, Director of the Office of Global Learning Initiatives, FIU

Dr. Pablo Ortiz, Vice President, FIU Global

Glenn Blumhorst, President, National Peace Corps Association



Peace Corps Sculpture Ribbon Cutting


MAY 21ST, 2021 10:30 AM CEREMONY FOR A HANDMADE GIFT BY RPCVSF PRESIDENT DAVID GARCIA


THE EVENT WAS A WOW!




New Version for the Next Installation







May 1, 2021 IN PERSON MEETING OF THE RPCVSF BOARD OF DIRECTORS


INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: REALITY CHECK

Click Travel for the February 16th, 2021 Update


I knew we should have re-confirmed our return flight!




A big thanks to everyone who participated in our Holiday zoom gathering yesterday!!  The event was a lot of fun, and it was so great to hear members from both our Gulf Coast group as well as the Miami group recounting stories from their Christmas pasts in their respective countries!  Let's aim to make this an annual event!

Copyright © 2020 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Gulf Coast Florida, All rights reserved.

This email was sent by:
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Gulf Coast Florida
PO Box 795
Sarasota, FL, 34230


RPCVSF President David Garcia joined others for a day-long

Capitol Hill Peace Corps advocacy day on March 5th, 2020.




See our Members at Home section for David's response to Global Ties about Peace Corps Service. Click Here: David Garcia


33rd Annual General Meeting of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida


RPCVSF Expresses it's Appreciation to the Historic 94th AeroSquadron Restaurant for a great Lunch and Venue  

RPCVSF President Jen Wos Welcomes Everyone to the 33rd Annual General Meeting of

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida, Inc.



RPCVSF President Jen Wos (left) and the Honorable Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins who spoke on All Kinds of Service. Commissioner Higgins served as Peace Corps Director in Belize.



Fair Trade Market Goods Were There to Raise Funds for HELP - Haiti

2019 Spirit of Service Learning Awards

Our annual Spirit of Service Learning Award event, held on Saturday, October 12th, at the Miami Springs Lions Club, was well-attended by RPCVs, awardees and friends.  After some mingling and a scrumptious, potluck meal, awards were given to: 2019 Spirit of Service Learning Winners and Honorees.pdf.

For more information about the Spirit of Service Learning program, please click here .



K - 12 Winners



 Higher Education Winners Melissa Grossman and Thomas Uhle, Jr.



Awardees and Representatives of the

Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year Coalition and the

Armando Alejandre Jr. Memorial Foundation and

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida

__________________________


Miami Dade College published an article titled "Faculty Honored for Service-Learning Dedication" about RPCVSF's Service-Learning in their monthly "MDC College Forum" that has a nationwide distribution of over 50,000. Immediately below is a link to the article.


Service-Learning Faculty Awards College Forum Article Nov 2019.pdf


RPCVSF Went to Thailand

By Greg Zell (Nigeria)


November, 2019 - Thailand has been a major Peace Corps country from the beginning. RPCVs from Thailand have made an impact on our organization from its start. A comprehensive 2 week visit is called for.


Thailand is an attractive country. It is not a gorgeous country. Bangkok is unattractive like many capital cities: very congested, largely sidewalk-less, buildings piled on each other happenstance. Cranes fill the skyline. Where are the new buildings going? The Chow Praya river adds a scenic touch though. We finish a cruise at the stylish rear entrance of the Mandarin Oriental hotel for high tea in the famous Authors Lounge. We take tea in the James Michener suite. Everyone agrees the surroundings, tea, and food make this an experience.


We leave the city to explore the ruins of two ancient capitals of Siam: Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. They remind us we are in an ancient civilization. At Kanchanaburi we see the River Kwai. Pierre Boule, a French author, took a handful of facts about a rail bridge near a river in Thailand built by Japanese WWII POWs and fashioned a popular novel. The American publisher gave it the English title Bridge Over the River Kwai; David Lean turned it into a great movie called Bridge on the River Kwai. Tourists wanted to see the river (and the bridge which was blown up at the end of the film!).


So the Thai government renamed a portion of the river and added new bridges even though the original did not cross the river but was parallel to it. An entrepreneur constructed nearby a bamboo cell block typical of a Japanese POW camp for tourists to see. Even more sobering, outside the town is the perfectly manicured cemetery for over 6900 Commonwealth POWs, mostly Australian and New Zealanders.

All our hotels on the trip were eye-popping. On the River Kwai, each room was a separate building with foundations sunk in the edge of the riverbed. The rooms were connected by a kind of gallery/causeway. You had to see it.


We head north to Chiang Mai, nestled in mountains and a favorite of PCVs. It is more temperate than the south. Visiting the elephant sanctuary lets us see them feeding, wallowing in a mud pit, and bathing in a river. They are a smaller species than their African cousins which we saw on our Namibia safari.


We go further north to Chiang Rai in the Golden Triangle, home of some of the world’s major druglords and best dope. I bought a nifty t-shirt featuring poppies. Now I am concerned people might think me a South Beach mo-del. The road ends at a river, the border with Myanmar (Burma).

We fly south to Phuket. The scars of the tsunami over a dozen years ago have healed. Now we see hills and mountains pouring into the sea and lovely beaches (no surf) and so many tourists, the result of China’s economy booming for years. Some of our group went snorkeling; others took a course in Thai cooking. We were blessed with authentic Thai cuisine every lunch and dinner. Asian food tends to be repetitive after a few days but not our meals.


Qatar

Our good fortune began when we caught a bargain airfare of about $900 round trip on Qatar Airways. The planes are sparkling new. No old overweight behemoth flight attendants for them: real gorgeous stewardesses and handsome stewards.


Qatar is an independent Arab emirate next to the United Arab Emirates. Qatar is mostly pronounced “cutter” but is better pronounced “gutter” we are told even though we never hear it. Qatar has oil which will run out in 20 years. Sing no sad songs. It has one of the world’s largest supplies of natural gas. The government tries to diversify its economy by encouraging tourists to fly its airline and layover by offering a 4 star hotel for $28 a night. We chose a night on the way home to fight jet lag. Our hotel was an older low-rise boutique, beautiful with inlaid marble everywhere.


A city tour was a must. I have never seen so many skyscrapers crammed together. Each one was more spectacular in design than its neighbor. My eye could not figure out why they did not detract from each other. Underneath many are gigantic cooling systems to blow coolness up to the pedestrian areas. The parks and “hills” are all created. Water comes from de-sal plants for people and greenery, altogether a lesson on what money can buy. What a treat! You should see.


Miami Marlins vs Arizona Diamondbacks

July 27, 2019




RPCVSF July 2019 Board Meeting

May 19th Partnership Lunch


Twenty-six RPCVs and guests enjoyed a delicious Georgian-Armenian lunch at Kavkaz Restaurant on Sunday, May 19th.  In addition to the great fellowship and wonderful food, the attendees selected a Peace Corps Partnership Project to which the $260 collected and $260 RPCVSF match (a total of $520) was donated.


The project selected is in the Republic of Georgia (fitting) and is called “Growing Seeds & Skills: Teaching Business to Domestic Violence Shelter Residents.”  The program will teach 15-20 survivors of domestic violence marketable small-business skills and organic-growing practices through a series of 6 workshops at a new greenhouse.  In addition to the workshops, the project includes the purchase of necessary supplies and materials for the existent greenhouse structure.


Once the participants in the program are ready to transition from life at the shelter to independent living, they will possess the increased capacity to work in horticulture, at community markets, and may even feel confident enough to start their own small growing businesses.


Many thanks to those who attended the partnership lunch for contributing to this project and to the future of the beneficiaries of the donation!





RPCVSF'S 21st ANNUAL OUTING to the EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK Saturday, February 1st, 2020


Thanks to the Park Rangers, the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis, our wonderful teams, RPCVs & their families, and the awesome organizing by Genevieve Bazer for our 21st Annual Outing to the Everglades National Park as well as the post event wrap up at the home of RPCV David Garcia in Homestead.


This year, for the first time we remember, we had rain at an Outing to the Everglades National Park, so some adjustments in the program were made and the 120 or so guests of honor still clearly enjoyed themselves.


Below are some photos from the 2020 Outing to the Everglades.





 



The following photos are from our 20th outing to to the Everglades, in March, 2019


Lots of Guests, Guides, Park Rangers and Chaperones



And Lots of Official Resident Greeters !


A Very Handsome Anhinga on The Anhinga Trail


The anhinga(/æhɪŋɡə/; Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called snakebird, darter, American darter, or water turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. The origin of the name snakebird is apparent when swimming: only the colored neck appears above water so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike. They do not have external nares (nostrils) and breathe solely through their epiglottis.

Like other darters, the anhinga hunts by spearing fish and other small prey using its sharp, slender beak.



Hello, my name is Ali and that's Ms Ali chatting in the next photo


Cooking and Conversation Club Haitian food Fort Lauderdale - October 13th








We had 6 attend the Yellow-Green Farmers Market on Sunday, September 30th, where we found RPCV Linda Alvarez selling honey from Florida Keys' bees.


From left: Michelle Kelsey, Barb Junge, Linda Alvarez, Ann Gleeson, Seamus Gleeson, Lenore Sek. Not pictured: Sharon Alvarado.

RPCVSF 2018 Retreat Sept., Key Largo, Florida 

Friday - Dinner at the Tower of Pizza, Key Largo




Saturday - September Meeting of the RPCVSF Board of Directors


July 28, 2018 - Marlins vs Washington Nationals



We had a turnout of 19. Great game (2-1 Marlins in 10) plus post-game fireworks.

For more photos, please see "Our Photo Album" on the left side of this page.


The 2014 Retreat, dinner at the Tower of Pizza, Key Largo, Florida




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