RPCV-NJ General Membership Meeting – March 24

Saturday, March 24th – 9:30-12:00 noon

Somerset County Library, Bridgewater Branch- Room C
1 Vogt Dr. Bridgewater, NJ 08807 (908) 526-4016

9:30 am Arrival & Reception
10:00 am-12:00 pm Meet Board Members, Project Presentations (see details below) & Committee Reports
12:30 pm Luncheon at nearby Bombay Spice. Buffet available for $12.95 Plus Tax & Gratuity

Luncheon requires a RSVP by Wed. 3/21 to rpcvnj.social@gmail.com


RPCV-NJ uses a majority of the funds received by members/donors to fund projects both lead by current Peace Corps Volunteers and by RPCVs who have remained involvement with their country of service.

In addition to brief reports on RPCV-NJ operations & activities, with a focus on upcoming events, there will be presentations on two projects that RPCV-NJ has supported recently (see below).

If you cannot attend the meeting, we are expecting to share these presentations live on the RPCV-NJ Facebook Page.

Friends of Ecuador
NJ RPCV Alan Adams
Mushuk Yuyay School Program (Healthy Children Healthy Futures)

This is a school breakfast feeding/nutrition education program in the remote Canari region of Ecuador. Money goes towards providing breakfast to students and a part-time nutritionist.  Students also learn how to plant traditional foods, such as quinoa, amaranth & barley using demonstration plots for better long-term nutrition.

Peace Corps Partnership Program
NJ RPCV Jack Curry
Eco-Stoves for Rural Panamanian Community inside Forest Reserve

The objective of this project was to construct Eco Stoves to improve cooking efficiency and lower the need for fire wood in the community before December of 2016. The project worked with community members using locally sourced materials to construct a safer less resource intensive cooking method in an environmentally important area inside of a forest reserve.


NOTE: March 24th is also the day for March For Our Lives.

If you want to participate in a “March for Our Lives” event on the day of the meeting, there is one being held at 3pm in Somerville, close to the meeting location. Info & registration for that particular event found on the organization’s website.


Be advised: Photos, sound and videotaped images taken at any RPCV-NJ related event may, at some point, be published in the association’s newsletter and/or on the Internet (website or Facebook page etc.) or with local, regional and national media organizations. Should you prefer not to be included in any of the above-referenced media (now in existence or any media created in the future), please briefly remove yourself in advance from all media coverage.


RPCV Holiday Party Recap and Photos

On December 2nd RPCVs, Family & Friends gathering in Highland Park for a Holiday Party. Tom Gallagher, Diane Lagattuta & Charlie Carreras told holiday stories from their countries of service. Delicious varied food selections were shared and the company enjoyable. All were treated to the colorful ornaments made by Ginnie Garatina that were given away at the end of the event.

Here are some photos from the event:

IMG_6141 newer RPCVsIMG_6144 Paraguay teaIMG_6127 enjoying foodIMG_Ornaments on whiteIMG_6114 Welcome TablesIMG_Ornaments on RedIMG_6132 Diane Laguttata storytelling

RPCV/PC Family & Friends Holiday Celebration – December 2

RPCVs & Others Family & Friends Holiday Party
Saturday, December 2, 2017

Social Hall
Reformed Church of Highland Park
19 S 2nd Avenue
Highland Park, 08904

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), individuals interested in serving in the Peace Corps, as well as family and friends are welcome to celebrate the holiday season
together in Highland Park, NJ. 
RPCVs will share stories about a holiday/special event celebration
in their countries of service including:
1. A Christmas story about the Kunama people in western Eritrea,
2. Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala, a very unsual multi day event &
3. Christmas in El Salvador. 

Questions, contact:
Doug Garatina rpcvnj.social@gmail.com or
Naomi Shank rpcvnj.social2@gmail.com
This is a pot luck affair. Any food contribution is welcome and if you are a RPCV wanting to bring a dish from your country of service, please do so.
Non-alcoholic beverages are welcomed.
Water, paper goods & utensils will be provided.

Music, including some from various Peace Corps countries, will be playing in the background and for dancing. If you bring any music CD please mark it clearly with your name so we can make sure it gets back to you.

RPCVs are encouraged to bring musical instruments from their countries of service to share as well. Tables will be available to display them but please take time to label them with your name and bring an index card with the name of the instrument (where applicable) & country of origin.

RSVP to Doug Garatina rpcvnj.social@gmail.com
(and if you know what food contribution you plan to make, let him know)

or reply to Dan Turkel, NJ Recruiter on the Peace Corps page for this Event

Volunteer Opportunity – Farm Gleaning on November 5

Farm Gleaning
Sunday, Nov 5th

Pick produce to be delivered to Food Banks through the NJ Agricultural Society’s Farmers Against Hunger Program

Apple Picking
Eastmont Orchards
181 County Road 537 East
Colts Neck, NJ 07722

Please review:
Farm Gleaning Guidelines

To register, contact Kelly Matthews

Bowling & Indian Dinner – October 8

Join us for a fun afternoon of bowling followed by a delicious Indian dinner at a nearby restaurant.   Whether you are currently an avid bowler or haven’t touched a bowling ball in 20 years, here is your opportunity to experience the thrill of knocking down as many pins as possible.

Date:  Sunday, October 8.
Times:  Bowling from 3:00 to 4:30 pm & Indian dinner at 5:00.

You must arrive at 2:30pm to rent shoes and select a ball.
PlaceCircle Bowl and Entertainment1113 Rt. 46 West, Ledgewood, NJ

Ages:  10 years old to 90+

Attendee Limit:  minimum people needed to run event = 10,  maximum people = 12.

Restaurant:  The Clay Oven,1140 Route 46 East, Ledgewood, NJ

Cost for 1 & 1/2 hours of bowling  (2 games):  $13.50  
(pay us, RPCV-NJ, when you arrive)

Cost of bowling shoes rental$4.50  (pay bowling alley when you arrive)

Cost of dinner separate 

Important Note:  we (RPCV-NJ) have prepaid for 2 lanes for a duration of 1 & 1/2 hours.  We need at least 10 people to attend in order for us to keep the per person cost at a reasonable level. If we don’t get at least 10 people signed up by September 30  we must cancel the event on October 1 in order to get a full refund, so —-

RSVP to Doug Garatina at  rpcvnj.social@gmail.com by Sat. Sept 30 at the absolute latest

Volunteer with Earth Keepers in Watchung Reservation – September 9

Jersey Cares
National Day of Service & Remembrance
Sat., September 9th

Start Time: 9/9/2017 9:15 AM
End Time: 9/9/2017 12:30 PM
Please arrive at least 15 minutes early for a briefing of the work
to be completed.

Union County Department of Parks and Recreation
Watchung Reservation Mountainside is a semi-wilderness oasis in the midst of a suburban development. Volunteers are needed to make a trail more accessible to hikers and to people who wish to enjoy nature. Volunteers work under the guidance of staff and all tools are provided.

This is a rain or shine project!

Wear closed toed shoes/boots
Wear long pants instead of shorts to protect yourself while gardening
Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
Bring a hat
Bring work gloves if possible
Bring water and snacks
Wear insect repellent and sunscreen
This is a labor intensive project

Age Minimum (with Adult):12+,
Minimum Age:17+

RSVPs / Get Directions to Work Location:
Kelly Matthews, Volunteer Chair

Volunteer: Howell Living History Farm August 26

The potatoes that RPCVs and family members helped plant in April will be ready for harvest in August.

Come to Howell Living History Farms in Mercer County on Sat, August 26 to help with this harvest and learn about the sorting process, how potato chips are made etc.

Wide open spaces and fun activities are suitable for family members of all ages. Potatoes are donated to a local food bank.

When:  Saturday, August 26, 10-4pm
Where: 70 Woodens Lane
Hopewell Township, NJ. 08530

Kelly Matthews, Volunteer Chair


RPCV Picnic Recap

RPCVs Pam & Gary Mount (Micronesia) were fantastic hosts for the 7th Year of RPCV-NJ family picnics. Their facilities at Terhune Orchards provided a beatutifull and very comfortable setting for the event which also offered a variety of other farm related activities. The attendance of RPCVs, Peace Corps invitees topped 70 but the count is uncertain as some came and went to enjoy the other activities offered (picking strawberries or asparagus, testing out the playground, visiting the discovery barn, petting/feeding the farm animals, browsing through the farm store etc.

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Peace Corps Recruiters Dan Turkel (NJ, NE Pennsylvania & Staten Island) and Jon Breen (Rutgers campuses) played a huge role in making this event a success by arranging the Send Off component (ice breaker game, storytelling & candle ceremony) for the Peace Corps Volunteer Invitees who attended and getting word out through the Peace Corps about the event in general.
We were honored to have Glenn Blumhorst, President of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) attend and contribute to the event.
Thanks to those RPCVs who coordinated with the RPCV-NJ Outreach Committee to set up displays from their countries of service for the benefit of picnic/send off attendees: Pam & Gary Mount (Micronesia), Larry Rubel (India), Dennis Ng (Philippines), Gerry Gillio (Iran) and John Bing (Afghanistan). Richard Dalrymple (Mali) hung international fabrics that helped decorate the barn.
No one went home hungry. There was an overabundance of varied foods including many dishes from a wide ranges of countries.  We also were lucky with the weather, any rain holding off until Monday, although the building used for the picnic (open but protected) would have been very comfortable anyway.
Remember to mark you calendars for next year (weekend of June 2 & 3).  If possible, we hope to hold this picnic on the same weekend each year although the specific date and location will have to be arranged.