Serving Yourself: Living the Rewards of Volunteering
April 27, 2023
The NYCPCA, in partnership with the Peace Corps and Cultural Connections, hosted an invitation-only event at the International Student Center on the Upper West Side featuring a conversation with returned volunteers about how their experiences in the Peace Corps have strengthened character, fueled career moves, and built leadership values for life. Hosted by our president Emily Castro (El Salvador, 2013-2015), panelists were Abdulrazakh Abdirahman (Comoros 2015-2017), Diamond Butler (Comoros 2015-2017), and Greg Emerson (Morocco 2003 / Peru 2003-2005).
Photo by Dorie Hagler
Encouraged our members to learn more about their local Mutual Aid group. Mutual aids are usually community-led groups that primarily disperse basic needs to less fortunate neighbors. Most usually function as a food pantry and grocery delivery service for under/unemployed low-income New Yorkers.
August – November 2020
Increasing Voter Turnout Campaign
The NYCPCA held a comprehensive voter turnout campaign which to encourage members to be poll workers, text bank, and register, and help others register, to vote. We also provided information registration deadlines. Additionally, NYCPCA Board Members hosted a letter writing party with Vote Forward, sending letters to individuals in swing states with a low propensity to vote.
Know Your Rights! Police Encounter Training
A training session focused on understanding our rights when stopped by the police which would enable members to serve as a resource for their community members, friends, loved ones, colleagues, and anyone they may pass by on the street who may need help. This session also provided helpful information on how to be an active ally to those who are protesting or supporting the movement in other ways. The trainer, Djibril Toure, has organized for greater police accountability as a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and other coalitions for about 20 years. Having worked on issues of selective enforcement/discriminator y policing, he was part of 2 lawsuits against NYPD and its Stop and Frisk program, Daniels vs. NYPD (2001) and Floyd Vs. NYPD (2012). He worked in a coalition with Coalition Against Police Brutality (CAPB) and Communities United for Police Reform (changethenypd.org) on long term recommendations and solutions for public safety.
Virtual Trivia Night
NYCPCA hosted a virtual trivia night for our members to connect with each other and our shared enthusiasm for all things international. Featuring questions about geography, Peace Corps history and challenging teams to identify flags of the world, it was a close-fought battle with the winning team awarded a gift card of their choice!
Linked our members to community service opportunities:
DOROT - DOROT (the Hebrew word for “generations”) provides a vital lifeline for thousands of older adults in New York City by building social connections at a time when face-to-face contact could be unsafe. Especially during a pandemic when social isolation can have devastating consequences on one’s health, volunteers would build community bonds and interact with older adults by phone.
Tanabel - Tanabel is a food and events company that employs refugee women with exceptional talent in the kitchen. Volunteers would deliver groceries to refugee families.
International Rescue Committee's Virtual Storytime Initiative - Volunteers would record themselves reading children's stories in a variety of languages.
Hike for Haiti Challenge - Students in the rural community of Marre-a-Coiffe walk the equivalent of 200 flights of stairs to get to access to education, healthcare and clean water. The organization, Hope for Haiti (CEO is an RPCV!), challenged people from all over the world to (virtually) hike the same distance in solidarity and provided RPCVs a promo code to register and participate in live-streamed workouts for free.
Caring for Your Mental and Emotional Health as an Evacuee
This webinar, co-hosted by the NPCA and NYCPCA, featured Dr. Nicole Brule, Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Dr. Brule is a RPCV (Lesotho '97-'99) who was evacuated from service due to a civil war 6 months before COS. Her dissertation was on how trauma impacts the reentry experience for RPCVs. Dr. Brule covered best practices for evacuees to improve their mental and emotional health and how allies can support.
MLK Day of Service
Volunteers participated in community outreach and canvassing for SNAP benefits to increase people's access to vital public food assistance programs and helps to decrease stigma at the Campos Plaza Community Center.
NYCPCA joined forces with the New School’s School of Media Studies on a film screening, “American Beat: Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise.” A panel of experts joined the event to offer expertise and skills in promoting refugee advocacy.