RPCV Camping Weekend – August 28-30 at Belleplain State Forest

You are invited (along with your family & friends for a camping trip! August 28th, 29th and 30th we will be at:
1 Henkinsifkin Rd, Woodbine, NJ 08270
(609) 861-2404
Our camping specialist, Dennis Ng, will be providing a list of things to bring this week. Activities available in the park include:

Facilities & Activities:


  • Hiking
  • Nature trails (trail guide available at office)
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Biking
  • Physical fitness trail
We have limited space this year so please RSVP by August 22nd to:
Anthony Privetera or Dennis Ng
aprivetera@gmail.com or dennissally@msn.com

Mandela Washington Fellowship Program

In June, Rutgers’ Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA) began hosting a group of talented young African leaders for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, an initiative of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). These fellows are between the ages of 25 and 35 and working to progress social change in sub-Saharan Africa through entrepreneurship, advocacy, and community service. The fellowship is intended to provide them with the skills and the know-how to advance their goals when they return to their home countries.
The U.S. State Department asked the GAIA Centers to coordinate a “peer collaborator” program as part of the fellowship experience. This program matched individuals with Fellows who share the same field of study and experiences.  The pair then meet informally once a week for six weeks.

Rutgers sought Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to participate in this program which started at the end of June and several volunteered to do so.  Initial communication and some meetings have taken place to date. According to one of the Fellows, “The session was very informal and friendly so I felt really calm and happy about the whole experience. We talked about passion and inspiration. We talked about our respective works as well. We have been having an email conversation ever since and I am truly grateful. She is also trying very hard to put me in contact with important people that are engaged in similar works.”

Thanks to Greg Costalas, a Senior Program Coordinator at the GAIA Centers, for reaching out to RPCV-NJ for collaboration on this project and for the NJ RPCVs who are participating in the program.
If you’d like to know more about the Peer Collaborator program or wish to volunteer for this opportunity next summer, please reach out to Greg Costalas at gcostalas@gaiacenters.rutgers.edu.

Howell Farms – Potato Harvest – August 15

IMG_8578 Howell Farms Apr 2015 Both teams plowing

The potatoes we planted in April will be ready for harvest in August. Come to Howell Living History Farms in Mercer County on Saturday, August 15th to
help with this harvest and learn how they are sorted, how potato chips are made etc.
Wide open spaces and fun activities for family members of all ages. Potatoes will be donated to a local food bank.

When:  Saturday, August 15th 10-4
Where: 70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Township, NJ. 08530

Questions, contact: Peter Arney


Host an International High School Exchange Student Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State

Would you like to have a cross-cultural experience in your community while contributing to improved relations between the United States and other countries? If so, consider hosting an exchange student sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in your home or school.  Each year, almost 2,000 high school students representing over 50 countries are awarded highly competitive merit-based State Department scholarships to study in the United States for an academic year.  These promising young leaders live with American host families across the country, attend high school, and participate in extracurricular and community service activities.  When they return to their home countries, they engage in alumni activities to share what they learned, put their new skills in practice, and maintain their links to the United States as they become leaders in their communities.

The benefits of hosting Department of State-sponsored exchange student go beyond simply welcoming someone new into your family or school and sharing American culture, values, and traditions — when you host an exchange student you welcome a new culture and language, and all the richness that comes with it into your community, help a young person learn and grow, and create long-lasting relationships and memories.  Learn more and fill out an interest form at hosting.state.gov or email youthprograms@state.gov.

June 21st (11-2pm) “Art in the Peace Corps” at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Peace Corps and the Philadelphia Magic Gardens have teamed up to provide a community outreach event titled “Art in the Peace Corps” that will feature an arts-based ‘Around the World’ style table line-up with RPCVs displaying pieces & crafts from their host countries. It will also bring in Isaiah Zagar, lead artist and creator of the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, who is also an RPCV (Peru) and whose experiences as a PCV helped to inspire this work of art & spur the spread of murals across Philadelphia! Magic Gardens expects 500-600 people to pass through their exhibit on this day!

The event description, location, directions, parking etc. can be found here: http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/events/art-the-peace-corps/

This is a great opportunity to bring together RPCVs from every decade to connect with the Philadelphia & greater area community and to support a RPCV’s non-profit!  If you can help by setting up a display table, please contact Patrick McGettigan pmcgettigan@peacecorps.gov

Reminder: RPCVs get in for only 5$ when they let them know they served in Peace Corps at the front desk; anyone displaying their work will get in for free!

Patrick McGettigan

Field-Based Recruitment – Philadelphia / South Jersey

RPCV Mozambique 2011-2013


(267) 902-9280

Peace Corps Welcome Back/Send Off Event – June 25

A Send Off event for volunteers about to leave for their assignments and Welcome Back for newly returned volunteers was held on Thursday, June 25th in Highland Park, Middlesex County.

NJ Peace Corps recruiters Rachel Bueide and Patrick McGettigan did a great job organizing and staging this event. Thanks to them for bringing this event to New Jersey to supplement events of this kind that regularly take place in New York and Philadelphia.

7 invited future Peace Corps Volunteers attended and they will be serving in Timor Leste, Namibia, Uganda, Mozambique, Paraguay and Fiji. In total, approximately fifty people attended the event that evening including these invitees with family members and RPCVs.

There was broad RPCV participation for displays, panelists, refreshment contributions & general attendees to make new PCVs/new RPCVs & family members welcome. RPCVs who set up a county of service display, some of which included a sampling of food from their country, included Phil Levy (El Salvador), Kelly Matthews (Paraguay), Christie Musa & Peter Arney (Sierra Leone), Larry Rubel (India), Gerry Gillio (Iran), Nancie Gunkelman for Aaron Gunkelman (Cameroon) and Owen Fitzgerald (Mali), Cathe Tansey (Morocco), Dennis Ng (Philippines), Edie Ben-Israel (Malawi), Julia O’Conner (Uganda/Guyana) and Dave & Cathy Owens (Jordan).

aWP_20150625_007 Display preview close

Panelists shared information about their service such as how to best assimilate into their community and what their most rewarding experience was etc., to help prepare the new volunteers for theirs. The panelists were Kim Pernice- Zambia, Kelly Matthews- Paraguay, Dave Owens – Jordan and Nate Rossi- Cameroon.
IMG_8763 Audience & Panelists
The event ended with a candle ceremony with earliest volunteers first in line, saying their name, country of service and years of service after their candle was lit and then lighting the next person’s candle. The new volunteers were at the end and it was quite touching knowing they would soon leave for an experience that would change their lives.

IMG_8775 Candle Ceremony-earlier RPCVs

Diversity Stride 2015 – June 6

Diversity Stride 2015 jk2.37.25 PM-2 copy 2

Each year social justice advocates, change agents, students, community leaders, corporate employees, youth-based organizations, families, cultural groups, friends and teams of walkers enjoy a leisurely 5K walk in a select New Jersey city park. The Diversity Stride promotes community unity and helps to ensure our neighbors of all races, faiths, ethnicities, identities and ages know that they are valued and respected.

Jersey City was an appropriate setting for this event having been recognized as the most diverse city in the country. According to an February 2015 Jersey Journal article “Census information from 2009 to 2013 said foreign-born people made up 39 percent of Jersey City’s population and that a whopping 52.1 percent of respondents spoke a language other than English at home. Major languages spoken in the city of 247,597 include Spanish, Tagalog and Arabic.”

Rachel Bueide, Peace Corps Recruiter for North Jersey, had a display at the event and RPCVs accompanied by family members, participated in the event, some as part of a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Team, established by Christie Musa, making contributions toward the events cause.  This event will be considered by the RPCV-NJ Volunteer Committee for future participation.

All Diversity Stride proceeds benefit our youth leadership programs, which help to provide more diversity education and leadership development training to students throughout New Jersey.

Thanks to those RPCVs and family members who participated.

Mexican Dinner before Moody blues Tribute Concert – May 23

All are welcome to join other RPCVs, family & friends on May 23rd at 5:00 p.m. for some flavorful, eclectic, and refreshing Mexican cuisine ahead of the “Time Traveller” Moody Blues Tribute concert which starts at 7pm (see below for FREE ticket information)

Taqueria Maria’s
51 Dayton Road, Jamesburg NJ 08831   (732) 521-1400

BYOB Tex-Mex restaurant with excellent reviews.
Yelp review: http://www.yelp.com/biz/taqueria-marias-monroe-township

Spouses/friends/family members are welcome!

Please RSVP by 5/20 to:
Greg Harris

The restaurant is a 5 minute drive from the Moody Blues Tribute concert that starts at 7:00 p.m.
We are offering FREE tickets to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and families.
To reserve free tickets, contact Nancie at ngunkelman@gmail.com
For further info:

Marasco Center for Performing Arts
1629 Perrineville Rd.,
Monroe Township, NJ, 08831