Returned Peace Corps
 Volunteers of South Florida



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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.

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


14 Jul 2024 3:00 PM • Miami Springs
20 Jul 2024 8:30 AM • Pembroke Park
17 Aug 2024 8:30 AM • Pembroke Park
08 Sep 2024 3:00 PM • Miami Springs
21 Sep 2024 8:30 AM • Pembroke Park
19 Oct 2024 8:30 AM • Pembroke Park
16 Nov 2024 8:30 AM • Pembroke Park
21 Dec 2024 8:30 AM • Pembroke Park

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                             C o m i n g U p

Changemaking Education Awards

Nomination Process - Click CME


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Our President, Dave Garcia, invites you to watch the Purple Martins live in their nest by clicking the following Link:

Purple Martins

Purple Martins - 2

May 17th, 2024 - Happy Hour @ Hollywood Brewery

HELP (Haitian Education and Leadership Program) Update

in the menu on the left under Programs - Support for Haiti or click  H E L P

April  13, 2024, Sunset Tavern and Deli Lane Café,  7230 SW 59th Avenue, South Miami

Peace Corps Partnership Program is Back !

On Feb 28, 2024, at 2:35 PM, Peace Corps Partnership Program <> wrote:



I hope this message finds you well. The Office of Gifts and Grants Management at the Peace Corps is currently undertaking a revitalization of our donor contact list, which will serve as a resource for Volunteers applying to Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP) grants. Our aim is to streamline support for Volunteers and enhance accessibility to fundraising opportunities for their projects. 


To achieve this goal, we are reaching out to your organization to gather insights about your interests and potential involvement. We would like to include your organization in our donor contact list and to gain insights into the types of projects that align with your interests and support objectives. Understanding your focus will enable us to align you with grant projects that resonate with the priorities of your organization. We encourage you to explore the current projects listed on the Volunteer Projects page( to gain a better understanding of the opportunities available.  


The Peace Corps Partnership Program facilitates connections between Volunteers, their communities, and donors in the United States and around the world to fund community-initiated and led projects. Over the past decade, the PCPP has provided funding for over 7,200 Volunteer projects. In 2019 alone, the PCPP supported 930 projects in 57 countries, positively impacting the lives of 1.5 million individuals worldwide. These projects span a diverse range of initiatives, from facilitating training programs to renovating schools and health centers. For a closer look at some of these remarkable projects, I invite you to view this brief video: Support a Better Future with the Peace Corps Partnership Program - YouTube. 


If your organization is interested in supporting Peace Corps Volunteers and their communities, we would like to send you more information about the sectors we work in and our donor referral system.  


Thank you for your continued dedication to the Peace Corps mission. We look forward to hearing from you. 


Warm regards, 

Anaïs Taupenot


Peace Corps Partnership Program Intern

Office of Gifts and Grants Management

Peace Corps

24th Annual Outing to the Everglades National Park

February 24, 2024  -  Guests Taking the Pledge as Junior Rangers by an ENP Park Ranger



February 9th, 2024 - Happy Hour and Dinner in Broward County!

They met at Dangerous Minds Brewing Company, Pompano Beach, and went for Dinner a few steps away at Shishka for delicious Lebanese food.

Cooking and Conversation Club

Februry 3, 2024 - Carmen Reilly taught us how to make ceviche

2023 Fall Picnic Greynolds Park


September 23rd, 2023

TAL Professor Jason Mizell was recognized by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida Inc., Miami-Dade Teacher of the Year Coalition and the Armando Alejandre Jr. Memorial Foundation. He received the Changemaking Education Award in recognition for designing a children’s literature course that allowed his students to work with the staff at the Linda Ray Intervention Center. His students worked with Elena Fernandez, a Ph.D. candidate in TAL, to put together a multicultural library. The award was created to recognize and celebrate outstanding educators who integrate changing education into the curriculum to strengthen academics, increase student engagement, and foster civic responsibility.

Courtesy: U of M’s School of Higher Education and Human Development NEWS

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Seal of Transparency

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

Click below for

 Travel Tips for your bucket list 11/2023

RPCVSF  Goes Went to the Beach

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Happy Hour at


Falafel House and Hookah Bar

When: Last Friday June 2; 5:00 - 7:00

Happy Birthday Peace Corps With a Happy Hour


March 30, 2023 - Caryn Lavernia, RPCVSF member, former VP, and RPCV Vanuatu at the Global Ties US National Meeting in Washington, DC, having a conversation with Michael Smith, the CEO of Americorps.

Caryn is Global Ties Miami's Board Chair. She and Michael discussed how Americorps members and Global Ties U.S. network members could engage with one another in service.

They had poignant stories of why each chose to discover the humanity of others through service, her first through Peace Corps, and then via her leadership with City Year Miami and their AmeriCorps members! 

RPCV Oral History Archives Project

The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Archives Project (OHAP) invites Returned and Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers, Peace Corps staff, and Country of Service counterparts and partners to tell their unique Peace Corps stories through in-depth oral interviews. Interviews are conducted remotely by RPCVs using Zoom. Interviews average one to two hours. Video interviews are archived for public access at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. Please visit the OHAP website for more information and sign up here if you’d like to be interviewed. OHAP volunteers will connect you with a trained interviewer.

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 AmazonSmile.


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

SUMMERTIME (and the living is easy)

By Greg Zell (Nigeria)

Please click HERE for details

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


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


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. 


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



New Version for the Next Installation



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.

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Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Gulf Coast Florida
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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.


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&#39;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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