On Oct. 16, 2007, Bob Arias received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in Salem, Oregon. Jody Olsen, PC Deputy Director and a personal friend, presented the award. Bob first served as a PCV in Sevilla, Colombia, from 1964-66.
Bob returned to Colombia in 1968 as North Coast Director, covering Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Cartagena, La Guajira, and the island of San Andrés. Later he was in charge of language training in Bogotá when PC moved its training for South America there. He settled down to work in Los Angeles County, but returned to Peace Corps in 1993 as Country Director for Argentina and Uruguay.
Bob says he remains a PCV at heart, always with “that fire in the belly” to get involved. He volunteers with the City of Salem on committees while serving as Executive Director for the Polk County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program.
He supervises some 50 men and women who advocate for abused and neglected children in juvenile court. “Working with CASA Volunteers is almost the same as working with Peace Corps Volunteers,” he says. “In fact, many CASAs in other counties were PCVs before, or want to join Peace Corps someday.” He dreams of getting a partnership going with National CASA and Peace Corps. Contact him at FlacoBob@yahoo.com.