Peace Corps Week 2017

Peace Corps Week is approaching, beginning at the end of February (Feb 26-Mar 4). Below is information for two major outreach events which RPCV-NJ is collaborating on with the respective Universities and NJ’s Peace Corps Recruiters to celebrate the establishment of the Peace Corps.
RPCVs are welcome to attend either or both events and help education others on the Peace Corps experience.

Tuesday, February 28th 

Monmouth University
-RPCVs will speak about hospitality in their Countries of Service
-Peace Corps contest videos on Hospitality will be viewed
-Attendees will mingle & view RPCV Country of Service tables*
Refreshments will be provided by
Monmouth University 

*Please contact if you are available and interested in setting up a display table for this event. 

Thursday, March 2nd
Rutgers University- College Ave Campus

1. Information Sessions including RPCV Global Tables
2. Screening of Hospitality Videos
3. Panel of RPCVs for a Hospitality-themed discussion
Event and refreshments provided by Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA)

Trenton Thunder – Baseball Game & Picnic – May 21

Second Annual
Baseball Game & Picnic
Arm & Hammer Stadium
One Thunder Road, Trenton, NJ
Sunday, May 21, at 1 PM
(Picnic buffet 12:30-2:00pm)

RSVP & payment needed by April 21

Join us this Spring for an afternoon enjoying “America’s Pastime” as the Trenton Thunder take on the Portland Sea Dogs at the Arm and Hammer Stadium in Trenton. Enjoy the baseball game from a table in the stadium’s private picnic area, located above the visiting team bullpen. We will have access to a delicious buffet-style 90-minute picnic (see menu below). 
Pricing: $28 per person (non-refundable) –  (includes ticket to the game and the picnic buffet).

Picnic Menu: All beef hot dogs, Hamburgers/ Cheeseburgers/Veggie Burgers, BBQ Chicken, Potato Salad, Garden Salad w/dressings, Baked Beans, Watermelon Wedges, Ripple Chips, Thin Pretzels & Cookies. Water & Fountain sodas are complimentary for 90 minutes, ending on hour into the game. Other beverages available for purchase throughout the game. 

Outside food & beverages not allowed in the ballpark. 

More Details: 
Cost for Parking = $5 per car. Parking lots are located in front of the ballpark, in the parking garage near Rho Restaurant and across Rt. 29.
Picnic Times = 12:30-2:00 (1/2 hour before game time to 1 hour into game)
Young Children: 
Children 3 & under are free, but must sit on your lap or stand.

IMPORTANT GPS NOTE: If using a GPS device to locate the stadium, you may need to enter the stadium neighbor’s address: “50 Riverview Plaza”. Not all GPS devices contain the stadium address of “One Thunder Rd”.

RSVP —FIRM RSVP date of Apr 21.
We are limited to 20 people for this event, therefore it will be first- come- first- served. Please sign up ASAP to secure your seat.

The RSVP for this event is a two-step process, and BOTH steps must be completed by April 21.   
First, RSVP by email to Doug at and tell us how many people will be in your party and their full names
Second, send a check made out to RPCV-NJ (and write “TrentonThunder Game” in the memo section) — cost is $28 per person. Mail to: Doug Garatina, 89 Old Turnpike Road, Port Murray, NJ, 07865  Your check must arrive by April 21 at the very latest.

How To Get Your Tickets-— After your check is received, your name will be put on a “Will Call List”. When you arrive at the stadium on game day, go to one of the “Will Call” windows, tell them your name and tell them you are in the Returned Peace Corps Group, show them your I.D. and get your ticket. Then go to the picnic area one flight up and to your left.

Rain Date— if the game is called due to rain before anyone is allowed in the stadium, they will reschedule us for another picnic/ ball game. But if people are allowed into the stadium and then the game is cancelled due to weather, they will only reschedule our game seats (not the picnic, and there will be no refunds). This is because the picnic buffet starts at 12:30 (before the game begins) and people could have already eaten their food before the game is called for rain.)

PCV Funded Project: Peru Soup Kitchen

by P. Jimenez

Group photo of P. Jimenez and the girls served by the soup kitchen in Peru

On behalf of our community in Cutervo Peru, our mother’s committee, and the adolescents & families members benefiting from the Soup Kitchen, I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous donation and support.

Currently 5,030 young students are enrolled in the city public schools of the district of Cutervo, a region located in the northern Andes of Peru. In some urban areas, adolescents who attend these schools live in countryside and need to walk an average of 2 hours each day in order to go to their classes. That is why we concluded that the best strategy to improve this situation and increase the level of attendance and academic/physical performance of these students was to create a student soup kitchen. This Soup Kitchen, opened its doors in October of last year and is currently serving a breakfast snack and a healthy mid-day meal at an affordable rate to 60 students between the ages of 13 to 17. In addition, we built an organic greenhouse to ensure sustainability and the quality of the products served in the soup kitchen.


Students currently participate in trainings that promoted healthy living among adolescents in the community. We focused our workshops on the construction of a well-balanced diet, diarrheal illness, anemia, nutrition, and hand washing techniques. This Soup Kitchen is currently a pilot program but since we have received hundreds of request from parents wanting to have their children participate, we are looking to expand in the future.

The project is being run by PCV’s and the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Committee, integrated by 30 leaders of the community; all woman. We know that there is great potential for this project in the future. We look forward to seeing the impact that this soup kitchen will continue to have on our community. Thank you again for your generosity and commitment to the empowerment of women. We look forward to sending you more updates and pictures as we move forward in the process.


RPCV-NJ has an existing committee of individuals who have expressed an interest in working on Legislative Advocacy issues.

Our organization follows the lead of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) which, on their recently
revised website, has established
very well laid out

advocacy section providing
information on 
key issues and an easy way to connect you with your specific legislators by entering your street address and zip code.

If you can participate on this committee, often by just emailing or calling your legislator (or visiting their NJ office if you have the opportunity to do so individually or as part of a RPCV-NJ organized appointment), please contact:

Joanne Brandwood at 
You would then be added to the committee to get committee
messages about important legislative issues. Note that these advocacy messages will not be overwhelming.

“Rainy Days and Sundays” and Indian Luncheon – Jan 22

Please join us on Sunday, January 22 for a buffet luncheon at noon at The Clay Oven Indian Restaurant followed by the “Rainy Days and Sundays” Concert at 2 PM“Rainy Days and Sundays”

The Clay Oven Indian Restaurant
1140 Rt. 46, Ledgewood, NJ 07852
Buffet – $12 Plus Tax
12 Noon

RSVP to Doug Garatina no later than January 14 at

Please provide the first and last name and phone number (including area code) of each person attending (this info is needed to get you a seat at the concert and to notify you regarding a snow date decision). Also indicate if you plan to attend the buffet at noon as well as the concert at 2 PM.

Music of the Unforgettable
Female Singers of the 70’s 

First RSVP – First Served
(seats for performance are limited for Non-Randolph Residents)
(Snow Date: January 29th – We will notify you by phone if the concert is being postponed due to weather )

Sandy Taylor, Vocals
Maggie Hollinbeck, Guitar & Vocals
Ed Alstrom, piano

The program will feature songs such as
Joni Mitchell’s ‘River,’
‘Blue Bayou’ by Linda Ronstadt,
Helen Reddy’s ‘Candle On the Water,’
‘Landslide’ by Stevie Nicks,
Carole King’s ‘It’s Too Late,’
and of course,
Karen Carpenter’s
‘Rainy Days & Mondays.’

Concert @ Randolph Township
Free Public Library
28 Calais Road, Randolph, NJ, 07869
It is a FREE concert

View other upcoming events

Ken Lockwood Gorge & Columbia Trail RPCV-NJ & Future PCV Hike

On Saturday, December 3rd, 2016, Violet Esipila, a future Peace Corps Volunteer, joined with a total of 13 RPCVs, friends and family members for a wonderful 8-mile hike at Ken Lockwood Gorge & Columbia Trail.  Following the hike we had a great Mexican lunch at Casa Maya Restaurant in High Bridge, New Jersey.

Violet (a future PCV) was pleased to meet everyone on the trail and was given great advice. She will be departing on March 15th , 2017 for Ukraine to serve in Community Youth Development for the next two years and three months.

The group had a beautiful day for hiking and they were able to explore and learn a great deal about Ken Lockwood Gorge & Columbia Trail.

Advice Given to Violet by RPCVs

  1. Always take one step at time
  2. Take time to get to know the community and their culture
  3. Earn the community’s trust
  4. Patience – as one RPCV stated – is needed because it would take time to implement ideas that would be acceptable within the community.

Overall, the trip was a great way for a future PCV to hear positive words of encouragement from RPCVs. Each RPCV gave helpful advice to Violet as she prepares to travel abroad. As a future PCV, Violet would like to thank all of the RPVCs for inviting her, along with her family and friends, to such a wonderful hiking and dining experience at Ken Lockwood Gorge.

Dining at Casa Maya Mexican restaurant

Following miles and miles of hiking and seeing the most beautiful views at Ken Lockwood Gorge, we ended our day by having lunch at Casa Maya Mexican Restaurant in High Bridge, New Jersey. The food was delicious! The group had a wonderful time relaxing, eating, speaking about the nature of the Peace Corps and just enjoying each other’s company.

Thai Kitchen Dinner Recap

by Doug Garatina

On Saturday, November 12, the Board Members of the RPCV-NJ Organization had a regularly scheduled meeting at the Bridgewater Library.  Since these meetings always stimulate our hunger, we retreated to the nearby Thai Kitchen Restaurant for dinner,where we were joined by several other RPCV’s and their family members / friends.  We numbered 14 in all.


We were the only people in the restaurant at 5 PM when they opened, but within 30 minutes the place was packed and remained full all night — the food and service was that good.  If you have never been there, it is certainly worth the trip (just Google it.)  

The attendees included a 12 year old (son of an RSVP)—- a very adventurous eater who ordered a “sizzling platter”.  And we had an RPCV couple who served together in the 1960’s.  They had the honor and privilege of having the first Peace Corps baby born in service.  In addition to that, another attendee (Bob Goodsell) was recently accepted into the Peace Corps and will begin his tour shortly in Tanzania.  He got an earful from us and promises to keep in touch throughout his tour of service in the field of agriculture.

Please consider joining us at some or all of the varied activities that we sponsor.  Just refer to the emails and newsletters that you receive from us.

Hike the Beautiful Ken Lockwood Gorge & Columbia Trail – December 3

Date:  Saturday, December 3
Start Time: 10 AM  SHARP !

From the quaint town of High Bridge, hike into the scenic Ken Lockwood Gorge along the bank of the South Branch of the Raritan River and return a level up on the Columbia Trail.

Duration: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy ( most of trail is on a wide, flat, gravel railroad bed)
Length: 7.5 miles  (feel free to return to starting point at any time)
Features:  Waterfall, River, Gorge, Historic Feature

Upon completion of hike we can have lunch at Casa Maya ( Great Mexican Restaurant), which is only 2 blocks from trail parking lot.

Driving Directions:
Take I-78 to exit 17 (westbound) or exit 16 (eastbound) for Route 31 towards Washington.  Drive about 2 miles on Route 31 then turn right on Main Street.  In 1.1 miles turn right on Bridge Street, proceed 390 feet, then left on Main Street.  Continue for .2 mile through town then turn left at The Commons sign to the parking lot.  If you pass Church Street, you just missed the entrance to the parking lot. Main Street dead ends in another block so there is an opportunity to turn around and approach from the other direction.

RSVP to Doug at 
by Thurs, December 1 at the latest.

Spouses/friends/family members are welcome.