In an effort to provide support to the 96 Peace Corps Colombia evacuees and other recently returned volunteers, Friends of Colombia started a Mentorship Program. FOC mentors offered their mentees job search assistance along with emotional and transitional support.
In the program’s inaugural year, FOC paired 32 mentees with 45 mentors. All Mentorship Program participants benefited from the strength of a broader network, the experiences of others, and the power of connection.
Testimonials: Hearing firsthand from FOC’s Mentors and Mentees
Mentor: Constance Ray, PC Colombia 2012-2014
“I very much enjoyed my experience as a mentor; however, it is funny how often I became the mentee during our relationship. I learned so much about perseverance, patience and of course, the latest champeta tracks.
This opportunity allowed me to reconnect not only to Peace Corps Colombia, but with the many ways the agency has changed my professional and personal life. Serving as a mentor was an empowering experience and the extra little bit of connection, amidst so much uncertainty, was just what the doctor ordered.”
Mentee: Kenny Tran, PC Colombia CII-13
“As an evacuated RPCV, working with a former PCV in order to readjust to American lifestyle, keeping in consideration the drastic and dramatic changes that took place so quickly was a blessing. Readjustment is always a difficult process, and it is great to have a mentor in order to talk through the process and think out loud with. Not everyone understands the Peace Corps experience, and I’m beyond grateful for the wise words and advice that my mentor has left for me.”
Mentor: Caroline Iglesias, PC Colombia 2012-2014
“I really enjoyed being a mentor and sharing my experience of using non-competitive eligibility to get a government job. I know I would have benefited from having someone mentor me as I was transitioning back to the US.”
Mentee: Elyse Magen, PC Colombia CII-13
“In March 2020, I was evacuated from the Peace Corps. Evacuation proved both physically and emotionally exhausting. I felt guilty for leaving behind unfinished projects, and anxious to face the reality of being unemployed during a pandemic. When I saw Friends of Colombia was offering to support Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers though a mentorship program, I felt hopeful and optimistic. When I saw Maya’s name I really perked up. Maya Cross was my Peace Corps Volunteer Leader (PCVL) in Colombia. I always found her to be incredibly helpful and approachable. It felt nice to have a personal connection to FOC, so I immediately reached out to her asking if she could be my mentor. Maya ended up helping me tremendously. We spent hours on the phone working on my resume, cover letters, and writing samples. She showed me how to reflect on my experiences in a more profound way and gave me renewed confidence. Maya also sent me job openings, one of which turned into an offer with a company I love. I feel thankful for Maya and FOC for their support with my job search. FOC also helped me refinance my grant, and thus deliver on my unfinished business. I feel forever grateful for the tremendous support I received from my fellow RPCV Colombia community.”
Mentor: Sue Forster-Cox, PC Colombia 1977-1979
“My mentee and I met about a year before she started her dual MSW/MPH degree program at New Mexico State University. I oversee that program plus serve as the Fellows Coordinator for our college. Thus, we had established a relationship (albeit a virtual one) before we were assigned as mentor/mentee. In addition, at NMSU, I am her advisor, so we interface often. We speak often of what we love about Colombia and miss from our time there.
Our in-country time spans were 40 years apart — but that does not matter. Our love of Colombia, the people, food, vistas, etc. span that time difference easily. My mentee is a passionate, mature and serious student, and she’s adapted well to the rigorous academic path she is on, earning the MSW/MPH dual degrees. She reminds me of the can-do attitude of a PCV/RPCV, love of community, quest to take on new challenges, and determination to conquer obstacles that may arise on one’s path.”
Mentee: Autumn Sprunk PC Colombia 2017-2020
“I was lucky enough to get paired with a couple of different mentors through the Friends of Colombia mentorship program. This was one of the indicators of how strong the Peace Corps network is after service, as much as during service. I was able to connect with a variety of people and talk through the pros and cons as I thought about what path to take: government, private sector, or a graduate degree.And I’m about to connect with a fellow FOC member who works at the government agency where I ultimately found a job! It was great to be able to share my experiences in Colombia, as well as to hear about how service has affected others throughout their career, offering a sense of connection and inspiration throughout the job search.”
Interested in being paired with an FOC Mentor in 2021? All you have to do is fill out this brief form.