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).

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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

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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

Outreach Presentation: Christie Musa RPCV Sierra Leone ’81-83

A presentation was made on her Peace Corps experience in Sierra Leone by Christie Musa, Inland Fisheries Extension Agent 1981-83.

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Howell Farms Potato Planting – April 25

On Saturday, April 25, a group from RPCV-NJ participated in the Annual Potato

Planting event at Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville NJ. The weather was cool and crisp and ideal for working outdoors. Assisted by 2 teams of horses who plowed the fields, our group was joined by others from the community in the planting activities.

The RPCV group included: Christie Musa, Gerry Gillio, Edie Ben-Israel, George Gunkelman, John Lawlor, Greg Harris, Carmine Grasso, Peter Arney, Pete Watson (our host), farmer Rob Flory and his intern and, soon to be PCV in Cameroon, Alex Amador.

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We worked hard and have the aching backs to show for it. After spending the morning in the field, we had lunch together treated to us by Pete Watson, our host.

Each week Howell Living History Farm hosts a different event involving the community. Next week it is sheep shearing. The harvesting of the potatoes will take place in August with the potatoes being donated to local Trenton area food banks. Our RPCV group will be back to join in the harvest.

RPCV Picnic in Waretown, NJ – May 3rd

Please join us and bring your family & friends on May 3rd for a Spring Picnic at:
905 Wells Mills Road (Route 532), Waretown, NJ
Days activities will include a hike lead by local expert Phil Levy, a Peace Corps Show and Tell, and a cookout on the grill!
Spouses/friends/family members are welcome!
Please RSVP by April 26th to:
Anthony Privetera

Ethnic Dining – Topo Vietnamese cuisine in Hackettstown, NJ

On a beautiful spring day, April 19, 2015, RPCVs and family members gathered in Hackettstown (Warren County) to enjoy Vietnamese food at Topo Restaurant  recommended by Allison Wawrin. The restaurant was easy to find and the décor bright and cheerful with setting was adequate for the eight attendees.

The food was excellent, from the Topo sampler (with fish, peanut and curry sauces) and pickled appetizers to the varied dishes ordered by attendees. A wide selection of foods from breakfast/brunch items to luncheon specials and regular menu items was available and by all accounts the food was delicious.

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As always, the camaraderie of RPCVs and friends was enjoyable.