Dear Friends of Colombia,
Change is upon us and I hope that we can rally our spirits of younger years to have faith that we are moving in a positive direction. I feel certain that the current economic and international situations have affected all of us in some way. We have faced difficult times in the past, we have lived with those who have a lot less than we do, and we know how to rally in times of stress.
We can confidently say that FOC has made and continues to make a difference in the lives of Colombians. I frequently hear stories of how our efforts have had a snowballing effect and reach more than those originally intended; or how those individuals who received assistance are now doing the same for others.
When you read Haroldo Suárez’s report about the successes of The Magdalena Foundation college graduates and two of our Paso a Paso students who are in line for college scholarships, you will know that we continue to make a difference in Colombia. Our Paso a Paso program supports students in elementary and high school. Without this program it is clear those two students would never have had the opportunity to get a scholarship for college.
With our support, Helene Dudley’s Colombia Project is expanding in new ways and collaborating with more Colombian entities.
In October the first group of Colombia RPCVs returned to work in a teacher training project in conjunction with the Federación de Cafeteros and Fundación Manuel Mejía. It was a pleasure working with Mary Ray, who spear-headed the project, as well as with Maureen Orth and Merrily Beyreuther. We were able to recruit experienced ESL teacher trainers who paid their own transportation to Manizales for a two-week session in which they worked with over 100 Colombian teachers. Merrily Beyreuther’s report in this issue should be of interest.
Our donations for 2008 are as follows:
Magdalena Foundation $3,000
Fundehumac/Paso a Paso $5,000
The Colombia Project $5,000
K-12 Wired $4,760
American University FOC Archives $1,000
NPCA $ 500
In the months to come, FOC Board members will be contacting RPCVs to encourage them to join FOC if they are not members, and to become involved in the planning for the 50th Anniversary Peace Corps celebration and the future of FOC.
The FOC Board has added Regional Directors to the team. They are: Bob Arias for the West, Don Goldberg for the Northeast, Helene Dudley for the Southwest, and Stephen Michael Murray for the Midwest. I look forward to working with you in 2009.
The best to you and your families in the New Year.
Arleen Stewart Cheston