On Saturday, December 8, we held our second annual RPCV Family and Friends Holiday Party at the conveniently located Reformed Church of Highland Park. The weather cooperated for us and our attendance was up by 8 people from our first attempt at this event last year. Holiday and some Rock music filled the air throughout the day. Thanks to one of our social coordinators, Naomi Shank, the hall was nicely decorated to create a festive holiday atmosphere. She created an “ice breaker” game that encouraged attendees to engage in meaningful discussions with others in such a way as to gain insight into who we are and what our Peace Corps experiences were like.
As usual, our international potluck luncheon was very delicious and varied. By the end of the event there was not a single person who went home hungry. We seem to never be under-supplied at our potluck events. It is very impressive to see the time and effort that people devote to their food creations from around the world.
We were pleased to share this event with New Jersey Peace Corps Recruiter, Dan Turkel and Rutgers Peace Corps Recruiter, Michael Lifschultz, both of whom set up displays and brought Peace Corps literature for all to share. They also invited potential Peace Corps volunteers to the event and we are pleased to announce that a few of them attended with their parents. This was a great opportunity for them to meet and talk with RPCVs who served in a variety of countries. At the end of the event they told us that Peace Corps is the path they will pursue.
The spotlighted event of the afternoon was a set of pre-planned presentations by four RPCVs. They each took 5-10 minutes to tell a story about their Peace Corps experiences, some of which were Christmas related. Each story was just as interesting and intriguing as all the others. In fact, after the four scheduled speakers finished, several people from the audience volunteered to take the mic and share their own stories. Many thanks to all who spoke that day. Here is a list of the four scheduled speakers in addition to the supplemental speakers who followed—
John Pearson – Malaysia 1967-1969
Barbara Kelly – Senegal 1971-1973
Pat Spencer – Tunisia 1994-1996
Michael Lifshultz — Nicaragua 2015-2017
Barbara Lee – Paraguay 1968-1969
Doug Groff – Ecuador 1968-70
Stephen Kornstein – Botswana 1976-78
Rosalind Malloy – Nigeria 1965-67
Photos from the event can be found on our Facebook page.
Please consider joining us next year at our Holiday Party in early December 2019.
Doug Garatina, RPCV-NJ Social Chair