Last Update: 5/14/2014 12:59 AM
NorCal’s transformation over the last 4 years has been extraordinary. Our community engagement continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. In April we reached nearly 800 people thanks to our incredible members who volunteered more than 300 hours to Bring Peace Corps Service Home.
Diversity Panel (photo: Lyle Hansen)
On April 5th, at the San Francisco Main Library, we worked with the local Peace Corps Office to put together a panel highlighting the diversity among Peace Corps Volunteers. Our April 9th Story Jam in San Francisco drew the largest crowd to date with over 80 people including representatives from the Commonwealth Club and KQED’s Kitchen Sisters. We kept the story fever momentum up with a story telling workshop on April 17th preparing for our next Jam in May at Stanford. We hosted our first volunteer send off in Fresno followed by another in San Francisco that we cohosted with the local Peace Corps office. It attracted over 210 applicants, nominees, friends and family of future Peace Corps Volunteers.
Career Brown Bag, Square, Inc
In April we also kicked off of our newest initiative - career brown bag sessions where we work with local employers to open their doors for a day to meet with returned Peace Corps Volunteer job seekers. Square Inc hosted our inaugural event on April 17 followed by another at the EPA on April 25th.
April was also a busy month for returned volunteer speakers. Alanna Crotty (Dominican Republic, 2010-2013) racked up an amazing marathon of talks at UC Berkeley, 2 Dining for Women Groups and a two day gig at her old high school in San Jose speaking to over 440 students. And we matched another eight returned volunteers with gigs at UC Berkeley, Mills College and SF State.
For a full report on our public education outreach click here.
Yet even with this unprecedented growth we have so much more work to do. A number of requests for speakers went unfulfilled and awareness of the speaker’s program is still low. There are hundreds of schools, Girl Scout troops, Rotary Clubs and other civic organizations as well as thousands of returned Peace Corps Volunteers that could be matched. We could be doing so much more, particularly now when the need for more cross cultural awareness is acute. The Wall Street Journal released a survey showing that nearly half of Americans want the US to be LESS active in world affairs just at the time when events in Syria, Libya and Ukraine call for intelligent engagement on the part of the US.
You probably know several returned volunteers who are not members. Remind them of all the amazing and important work we are doing. Remind them that America’s role in the World requires an informed population starting at the local level. And while KQED and the Commonwealth club do an excellent job on reporting the facts our volunteers report on the people. Remind them that NorCal’s role is unique in providing that ground level human perspective. Finally, remind them of the responsibility they accepted when they first became Peace Corps Volunteers: to promote understanding among peoples of the world. A responsibility that continues long after service.