Peace Corps Community Resources: An interview with Erica Burman and Molly Mattessich of the National Peace Corps Association

Molly Mattessich

Molly Mattessich

The New Service podcast from Idealist.org features the national group of Peace Corps alumni. Listen here.

As Peace Corps nears it’s 50th Anniversary in 2011, applications are on the rise, fewer Volunteer positions are getting funded, the Senate just confirmed a new agency director, and the number of Peace Corps  alumni is nearing 200,000.

Helping connect the dots among the agency’s fiscal needs, and Volunteers past, present, and future is the National Peace Corps Association—the independent organization of former Peace Corps Volunteers, known as Returned Peace Corps Volunteers or RPCVs.

The National Peace Corps Association offers the Peace Corps community tools and resources to stay informed and engaged, and advocates for Peace Corps funding and support.

Today’s guests are Erica Burman and Molly Mattessich of the National Peace Corps Association. Erica Burman is the Director of Communications at NPCA, and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in The Gambia in the late 80s. Molly Mattessich manages the Africa Rural Connect project at NPCA, as well as the Peace Corps Connect online social network. Molly served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali from 2002-2004.

I talked with Erica and Molly about NPCA’s initiatives like the More Peace Corps Campaign, Africa Rural Connect, the RPCV Mentoring Program, and Global Teachnet.

We also talked about the new online social network for the Peace Corps community Peace Corps Connected, the Peace Corps Polyglot blog, and World View magazine.

Finally, we discussed the new Peace Corps director — and departing NPCA board member — Aaron Williams, and how online communication tools are changing the Volunteer experience.

New Podcast: A Pride Month Interview – Lesbian and Gay Perspectives in AmeriCorps and Peace Corps

June is Pride Month, so The New Service podcast from

Gay Pride 8-colors Flag by Stonewall Veteran Gilbert Baker

Gay Pride 8-colors Flag by Stonewall Veteran Gilbert Baker

Idealist.org is taking a closer look at the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals serving in Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

Today’s guests are lesbian and gay former service corps participants:

  • Chad Jeremy, a former AmeriCorps NCCC corps member, currently a training specialist with AmeriCorps NCCC in Perry Point, MD. Chad is an officer with National Service GLOBE, an affinity group for LGBT folks involved with national service.
  • Kate Kuykendall, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (China, 1999-2001); currently a Public Continue reading

A Pride Month Interview: The First Known Transgender Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Speaks Out

A Pride Month interview.

A recently-Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and the first known transgender person to serve, writes about his experiences—first on the website for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group (also known as the LGBT RPCVs), and now in an interview with my intern Sara Lozito and me.

The interview here is timed to appear on the same day as our podcast interview for Pride Month. The RPCV has chosen to remain anonymous for security purposes.

To give you a little background here are some excerpts from the LGBT RPCVs website:

My desire to become a Peace Corps volunteer stemmed from not only believing in the mission and goals of PC, but because I wanted to gain valuable international experience Continue reading

Pride Month Podcast Transcript

Gay Pride 8-colors Flag by Stonewall Veteran<br> Gilbert Baker

Gay Pride 8-colors Flag by Stonewall Veteran Gilbert Baker

Below is the transcript of our June podcast, “Lesbian and Gay Perspectives in AmeriCorps and Peace Corps.” Huge thanks to podcast intern Sara Lozito, an AmeriCorps member, for work in creating the transcript.

Amy: Welcome to the Idealist podcast. I’m Amy Potthast and this is the The New Service Podcast from Idealist.org – moving people from good intentions to action.

June is Pride Month, so The New Service podcast is taking a closer look at the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals serving in Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. The terms lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are abbreviated throughout the show as LGBT or GLBT.

Today’s guests are lesbian and gay former service corps participants: Continue reading

New Podcast: Cross Sector Relationships, Corporate Responsibility and Citizen Service: An Interview with Alan Khazei and Shannon Schuyler

The New Service podcast from Idealist.org takes a look at a new national partnership.

Corporate social responsibility and citizen service are increasingly becoming two sides of the same coin, as more business-sectoemployees and clients demand opportunities to improve their communities as part of their workplace culture. Exemplifying the beneficial opportunities of cross-sector alliances is the new national partnership between the nonprofit Be The Change, Inc., and the business network Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

Alan Khazei

Alan Khazei

Today’s guests on The New Service podcast from Idealist.og are Be the Change, Inc’s Alan Khazei and PwC’s Shannon Schuyler. Link to the podcast.

Alan Khazei is the founder and CEO of Be the Change, Inc, the lead organizer of the Service Nation campaign that has galvanized support throughout the country for passage of the Kennedy Serve America Act. Alan is Co-Founder & former CEO of City Year, the youth service corps that helped to inspire the development of AmeriCorps.

Shannon Schuyler

Shannon Schuyler

Shannon Schuyler is the Managing Director responsible for PwC’s U.S. Corporate Responsibility. As such she is responsible for fostering meaningful partnerships with national non-profits, including a new national relationship with Be the Change, Inc.

The collaboration between Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Be the Change Inc is aimed at inspiring a new era of voluntary citizen service. PwC will also serve as a Lead Sponsor for ServiceNation’s participation in the upcoming National Conference on Volunteering and Service.

I spoke with Alan and Shannon about their evolving partnership, about how corporate responsibility strengthens communities, and about how groups can — and must — come together across sectors to solve our most pressing social problems.

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New Podcast: Grad School Financial Aid for Professionals

Photo via the East SA blog

Photo via the East SA blog

The newest Idealist podcast features Regina Garner, Director of Student Financial Services for the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Idealist.org’s Jung Fitzpatrick talks with Regina who dispels some common myths that working professionals have about qualifying for financial aid and to learn more about the ins and outs of financial aid for graduate education. Listen now!

Whether you’re thinking about graduate school–or are already on your way–this podcast helps answer many questions about the financial aid process. Topics include the basics of how financial aid is determined, the role of The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 in debt forgiveness and loan repayment as well as other issues for professionals transitioning to graduate school.

If you have more questions about grad school, check out our free Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center, which in addition to articles on financing your graduate education, includes information on preparing for, applying to and alternatives to graduate school. You can also post questions to our Graduate Education Forum! Follow Idealist’s GradResources on Twitter.

Also be sure to check out the upcoming Graduate Degree Fairs for the Public Good this summer in Washington D.C. and New York City and this fall in 16 cities in the United States and Canada.

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New Podcast: Volunteer, National Service, and Nonprofit Resources on the Resource Center

Resource Center logoThe newest Idealist podcast features the Resource Center.

The Resource Center, a website of the Corporation for National and Community Service, is the repository of over 8,000 nodes of training tools, publications, and effective practices to support volunteer programs, nonprofits, and people involved with the AmeriCorps family of programs. The Resource Center–free and accessible to all audience–boasts a 3,000-item lending library as well as a calendar of events of interest to national service programs and nonprofits.

The guests on The New Service podcast are Laura Norvig, the Resource Center’s librarian, and Jason Scott, the Training Officer and eLearning Specialist at the Corporation for National and Community Service. Listen to the podcast. Continue reading