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Talking Points Memo No. 2

September 14, 2016

Pleased to report that there may be some good news that could move Peace Corps House towards reality. Because an essential collaboration is taking shape. Possibly.
But first, it’s obvious that one purpose of this website was to stir the pot, to put some energy and recognition into Peace Corps House, to keep it alive. Because last spring it got caught in the horse latitudes where progress got stalled — a couple of my own navigational errors didn’t help.
But in a lengthy February 2006 article in the Confederated Umatilla Journal about the work of several of us on a comprehensive approach to dealing with Umatilla tribal alcohol and drug abuse, this: “Tom Hebert can’t be left out of this story. He’s a man with admirable ideas that are well conceived and substantiated by amazingly thorough research. Hebert has the stamina of a small, but capable Cayuse pony, and the persistence of a barking lapdog.” S’true.
Anyway, there’s new life in Peace Corps House and the trigger event indeed was  www.peacecorpshouse.org. And now there’s a sense that PCH might just take root. Because this website—a toolkit—is getting read and positive discussions and commitments are the result.
But, honestly, this forward motion is now more the work of Chris Robinson and the RPCVs of Washington D.C working with NPCA’s Glenn Blumhorst. It’s a coming together.
Now it’s also true that Peace Corps House to function has to be truly rooted in both communities: its eventual neighborhood and the RPCVs of metropolitan Washington. It’s a partnership. But with the NPCA present at the birth of PCH and with its broad reach into our world of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, the NPCA should play a vital role.
It’s also clear that if/when the RPCVS of Washington’s board of directors approves sponsorship; its IRS 501(c)(3) will shelter PCH. Peace Corps House surely falls within its mission: “To foster a community of RPCVs and friends in the Washington, D.C. area through social events, service projects and professional development and to continue our service back home.”
But last week’s possible game changer was Glenn’s comment that “I’m still convinced this project can get the spark it needs by starting a working group….”
As it happens, due to this website but more to Chris’ proactive decision to put Peace Corps House on the RPCV/W Facebook page and add it to their Blog we now have a working group in the making.  www.rpcvw.org/peace_corps_house_the_peace_corps_cafe

Their comments:
“I love this idea and I’d love to lend my support how I can.”
“Fantastic! Eager to learn more.”
”I would love to help/get involved as well.”
“Love it!”
“Count me in!”
“Count me in too!”
“Looks good. You can put my name on a list for meeting.”

Indeed, about two dozen RPCVs have agreed to help Peace Corps House get to reality. As Chris wrote on September 2nd, “Anyway, things are in motion, and the more of our members who are interested, the better. They often beat us, the institution, to the punch, and we love it when they do.”
The upshot of all this is that now I’m hopeful that sometime this fall Chris and Glenn will convene a “working group” of these folks and others to raise that $7,500 for the essential feasibility study of a Peace Corps House in Washington, D.C. Because if they don’t we’ll need a Plan B….
But given that Glenn mentioned it to me, there is even a possibility that at the upcoming NPCA annual conference a meeting will be scheduled to discuss Peace Corps Houses and their associated Peace Corps Cafés.
Because, from the get-go, it was understood that the model for Peace Corps House was amovable feast” that could go national, anywhere there was a concentration of RPCVs and/or an organization affiliated with the NPCA.
So, downstream there could be more Peace Corps Houses.
But first, a working group meeting in Washington, D.C. Nothing like an easel and Magic Marker to get to reality quickly.

Tom Hebert

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