RPCV-NJ has supported local projects and organizations with reach in communities served by the Peace Corps.
DECEMBER 2017: Cooperativa José Cortes Cordero, an employee cooperative of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce
The University employee cooperative is collecting money through its members, faculty and administrative personnel to distribute and help families in the nearby community. All money will go directly to the 20 employees of the University and their families who lost virtually everything as a result of Hurricane Maria.
The request for donations comes by way of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Mr. Lamberto Vera-Velez (Paraguay, 1969 – 71) who overlapped with our own RPCV-NJ members Barbara and Art Lee. Lamberto is a retired professor of the Graduate School of Education at Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce and his wife Angie is a member of the Finance Committee of the Cooperative. After his service in Paraguay, Lamberto helped run Peace Corps Training in Puerto Rico. He is also a former resident of New Jersey having studied at both Montclair State University where he obtained his Masters in Education and Rutgers University where he obtained his doctorate in Urban Education.
OCTOBER 2017: Friends of Afghanistan/Growing Peace in Afghanistan (GPIA)
The Bamyan Weaving Project of the Friends of Afghanistan/Growing Peace in Afghanistan (GPIA) is intended to help the weavers of central Afghanistan by supporting the purchase of wool and its transformation into barak, a fabric that has been made for millennia in Afghanistan and Iran but is expensive because the method of weaving, using ground looms, takes much time and labor. One of the GPIA members, an RPCV from Afghanistan, is himself an experienced weaver and entrepreneur and he has sent a more advanced loom to Bamyan; the project intends to use this ground loom to train local weavers in the more efficient production of barak and to purchase wool from local sheep farmers to provide to the weavers for production of barak, which would then be sold locally. Once production ramps up, GPIA expect to begin marketing the product in the west.
2015: Pedals for Progress
2014: $500 donation to the New York City Ebola Fundraiser
2011-2012: “Images from the Peace Corps Experience” A photographic collection curated by Nancie Gunkelman. The collection was displayed at several venues throughout 2011 and 2012, including NJIT, the Monore Township Library, the Howell Living History Farm, and the Plainsboro Public Library.
2010: Haiti. Oxfam America. Donation to the Earthquake Relief Fund ($500)
2009: Sudan. CHF International. Donation for 5 stoves for refugees ($150)
P4P: Pedals for Progress. This organization started by RPCV NJ Dave Schweidenback collects bikes and sewing machines and distributes them in developing nations.
Howell Living History Farm (Mercer County Park Commission) Director Pete Watson (RPCV-NJ) welcomes RPCVs at several events throughout the year.