In celebration of #PeaceCorpsWeek, FOC worked with Francisco Santos, current Ambassador of Colombia to the US, to bring you a special video message. Many thanks to the Embassy of Colombia in the United States and Peace Corps Colombia!
On February 5, 2021 - FOC hosted the panel "Discussing Race and Gender in 21st-Century Colombia." FOC's very own Dr. Taylor Owen Ramsey, Ph.D. moderated a timely and important discussion, "Race and Gender in 21st-Century Colombia," with three esteemed guests: - Dr. Ángela Castro from Colorado College - Dr. Monica Styles from College of Charleston - Dr. Katherine Anson from St. Mark's School of Texas This event was free but any donations went directly to Batambora and Asociación de Mujeres Afro-Colombianas, Colombian charities chosen by our guest speakers. Additionally, FOC matched $1,000 in order to send $2,000 total to the [...]
Thanks to the generosity of our AMAZING members, FOC's recent End of Year campaign broke multiple fundraising records. Over the past two months, a total of 183 individual donations helped FOC raise $30,481, both high-water marks in the organization's 30+ year history! Not in our wildest dreams did we anticipate more than doubling the ambitious $13,000 goal we set in November. Your support has allowed FOC to start the year by making donations to these inspiring organizations: La Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas (ASOMI) Paso a Paso The Marina Orth Foundation The Magdalena Foundation The Colombia Project On behalf of the entire FOC Team, THANK YOU, THANK [...]
This March, all Peace Corps Colombia volunteers were evacuated and forced to return to the United States. FOC helped welcome the 96 evacuated Colombia Peace Corps volunteers by hosting a virtual happy hour. In total, 45 people joined the Zoom call. Attendees ranged from Peace Corps volunteers that served in the 1960s-1970s, 2010s, recently evacuated PCVs, and NPCA staff. In addition to reminiscing about parties on patios in plastic chairs and exchanging stories about working and living in Colombia, we were able to hold a productive conversation concerning the immediate needs of evacuated volunteers and how FOC could help assist [...]
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 [...]
Laura, can you tell us a bit about yourself? My name is Laura Leiva Vargas. I am from Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. I studied communications at Universidad de Cartagena, and I graduated in June, 2020. During college, I had the opportunity to do a one year exchange at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, a Spanish university. There, I worked in radio, media and journalism. Right now I'm working with the department of communications in the environmental office of the city (Establecimiento público ambiental - EPA), and I am an intern for Friends of Colombia. What is your connection to Peace Corps [...]
Please enjoy reading Friends of Colombia's 2020 Annual Report and reflect on what your support has allowed FOC to accomplish this year! For those still thinking about making an end of year donation it's not too late to help us reach our fundraising goal of $13,000. Your tax deductible contribution will allow us to continue our work in 2021.
Thanks to all of our speakers and attendees that participated in our Career Panel Speaker Series! We kicked off our first panel on April 9, which focused on Careers in the Federal Government. Regina Ernst (2013-2015) gave a great overview of how human resources, NCE, and USAJobs works. Mike Deloge (2011-2014) spoke about his role at the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. And Andrea Doyle (2012-2014) was able to speak about her job at Peace Corps and new role at the General Services Administration. Our second panel on April 25 focused on a diverse array of careers available in the [...]
Earl Kessler, Former Peace Corps Volunteer (1965-1968) and current FOC member, wrote an informative and engaging book about the development of Puerto Badel, a rural town outside of Cartagena, when he was a Peace Corps volunteer. The book "Letters from Alfonso: Learning to Listen" tells the story of construction, development projects, and slum improvement when residents of a Colombian town, wiped out by flood, took the future into their own hands. Earl's life intersected with that of community leader, Alfonso Perez Correa. Working with Alfonso, Earl learned lessons in local participation and empowerment that have helped bring success in meeting [...]
by Jerry Norris In a March 15 open letter to Volunteers worldwide, Peace Corps Director Jody Olson wrote: we are acting to safeguard your well-being and prevent a situation where Volunteers are unable to leave their host countries. Unfortunately, several U.S. media outlets interpreted that the intent of her letter was to also fire the Volunteers. Returning Volunteers suddenly found themselves without paid leave, with health insurance for only two months, and ineligible for unemployment benefits. For some of those returning from countries with no coronavirus cases to U.S. hot spots in New York and California, their sudden [...]