Since 2002, MPCA has donated over $20,000 to projects throughout Milwaukee and the world. Please consider donating to MPCA to help fund new projects.

The International Learning Center, a program of Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, would like to thank the Milwaukee Peace Corps Association for its donation of $500.00.  This funding enabled us to take three field trips.  This support helped with the following outcomes:

  • Refugee families gain language, life, and social skills needed to participate in children’s education and development and maintain a strong family unit while learning the importance of parental involvement in their child’s education
  • Refugees function effectively as citizens gaining language, life and social skills needed to attain citizenship, participate in the Milwaukee community and access community resources.

On February 7, 126 adult participants and 7 preschoolers went to the Mitchell Park Domes.  Learners enjoyed seeing familiar plants from their homes in Africa and Southeast Asia.  Most participants had never visited the Domes before, so this was an opportunity for them to learn about a place they can bring their families in Milwaukee.

On March 4, 56 adult participants and 3 children and preschool went to Neighborhood House’s maple sugar farm in Ashipun, WI.   Neighborhood House's outdoor educators helped the participants through the process of tapping the trees, collecting sap, making it into syrup, and of course eating it!  They also hiked and enjoyed sledding in the woods.

On March 30, 111 adult participants and 12 preschoolers went to the Central Milwaukee Public Library.  They toured the library and learned about the check-out process.  The preschoolers played in the puppet theater, climbed in the play tower and listened to the instructor read books.

Dear MPCA,

I want to report that your grant to the Liberian Assistance Program (LAP) has been spent! We regret that it took us so long to complete the project you funded. As you may recall, you gave LAP $300 in the fall of 2009 to build chairs for the new Barack Obama school that we are building and supporting in Cow Field, Liberia.

We had expected the project to be completed earlier, but the principal suggested we delay building the desks until he had the doors and windows on the school, so he could secure the desks safely in the building. That sounded sensible to us. Now, more than 100 desks have been completed (each desk costs $15 for the materials and construction that is done in the village). The remainder of the desks will be built in the next few months. I am enclosing photos of some of the desks with children sitting in them, plus a couple of photos of the school.

In addition to your grant, we also received funding for the desks from the Friends of Liberia and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of WI-Madison.

We had hoped the school would open last fall, but we delayed it to the fall of 2011, since our principal wanted everything to be in place before opening the doors. The building was completed in March, but we are still in the midst of furnishing it with textbooks, the rest of the desks, a water pump, etc.

The president of the Friends of Liberia visited the principal and the school just last month and was impressed with the progress and gave us some good suggestions for moving ahead.

We feel very fortunate to be working with the principal, Jessie Kekula, a student of mine when I served in the Peace Corps in Liberia in 1964-66. We also feel fortunate to have two members of our advisory committee living in Monrovia, Liberia - Lyn and Jim Gray, former Peace Corps volunteers in Liberia. As the school has been built, Lyn goes over the expenses with Jessie, after each $2,000 has been spent.

Again, we very much appreciate your help with the desks. If anyone in your group expects to travel to Liberia, we would hope he or she might stop to see the Barack Obama School in Cow Field, just outside of Monrovia. I think you would feel proud to be a part of this project, completed by a former student of a Peace Corps volunteer.

Sincerely,
Judy Reed, Chair, Liberian Assistance Program
PCV Liberia, 1964-66

Students in the chairs donated by MPCA

Barack Obama School in Cow Field, Liberia

The MPCA Board is pleased to announce the following grant awards to be made to local and international organizations furthering our goals of

  • Providing for basic human needs: food, shelter, health care, education
  • Facilitating cross cultural education/understanding
  • Empowering underserved groups including, but not limited to immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, low income communities, women and girls, etc.
  • Providing opportunities for volunteering/community service

Domestic Grants:

Neighborhood House International Learning Center: $500
To assist refugees and recent immigrants in developing the literacy, oral communication and life skills necessary to function in their new country.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Refugee Resettlement Services: $469
To support the development of a community garden for older refugees, providing a source of fresh fruits and veggies, opportunities for socializing and forming new relationships and enabling them to become more integrated in a supportive community.

International Grants:

Friends of African Village Libraries: $500
To support their summer reading camp program, which will provide 100 children an opportunity to read intensively for one week during their summer break, an opportunity that they might otherwise not have--being responsible for income generating activities. They hope to contribute to a culture of reading and enhance reading skills for these young people.

Youthaiti - $500
To support their Ecological Sanitation program, providing 20 families with moveable Arborloos - eco-friendly latrines - and health/sanitation education. This will hopefully improve sanitation and ultimately, the health of the community.

This fall the MPCA received several requests for financial assistance to help start-up and/or support community initiatives. This round of recipients includes 2 domestic and 3 international projects which will receive $300 each from the Milwaukee Peace Corps Association to help fund their community projects. We give a sincere 'Thank You' to all the donors who help keep the MPCA Mini-Grant program alive through your generous gifts! Our Fall '09 grants will go to the following Wisconsin PCVs and Milwaukee Community Organizations:

Sponsor Amount Location & Project
PCV April Williamson $300 Co-ed Middle School Basketball Camp, Senegal: Middle school students in the area suffer from a lack of opportunity to participate in sports, recreation and extracurricular activities.
PCV Kelsey Schuder $300 Women's Self-Awareness Project, Turkmenistan: Increasing self-esteem, self-confidence and health living practices among women.
PCV Judy Reed $300 School Desk Project, Liberia: Assisting in the construction of an Elementary School by providing for roughly 25 of the 180 desks needed.
Michael Zahn $300 Lissy's Place - Shelter for Homeless/Abused Women, Milwaukee: Providing food and shelter and assisting women in obtaining education, health care, and jobs.
Rodney Bourrage $300 Operation DREAM - Youth Holiday Project: Purchase materials needed to make and sell Holiday decorations to fund a Winter Youth Outing.

I apologize for not writing in the last few months.they have been the busiest yet of my service. I spent most of June holding meetings with the village headmen, chiefs, and villagers to discuss starting a community library. In the end, the chiefs donated an unused building (one of the nicest in the whole village-tin roof, cement, 3 rooms) and we established a gender-balanced committee to oversee the library and volunteer as librarians. We built shelves and moved a few thousand books, magazines, and newspapers by bicycle and balancing boxes on our heads. These books were donated by the National Library of Malawi, Peace Corps, and mostly, YOU!!! As the weeks went on, we received more and more members-children, out of school youth, parents, and grandparents. For less than 50 cents, they can become a member of our library-Nkhumbwe Community Library- for a whole year. Believe it or not, some still have to pay in installments. Sometimes I go and read stories to the kids, sometimes I help organize books, and sometimes I just sit and observe. But it always makes my day.

Other than the community library, I have been busy getting my seniors ready to take their national exams (next week) and organizing all of my teaching notes and materials to hand over to my colleague when I leave in 60 days! My experience has really come full circle and everything I felt 2 years ago- the bittersweet goodbyes and anxiety about what is to come-has come back to me. I am applying to graduate school-environmental science programs- and thinking about job opportunities until that happens. My last 60 days are going a lot faster than the 843 days did, and I am trying to spend time with the people I have to say goodbye to and savor what time I have left here.

I attached some photos of my two favorite activities in the village: community library and art club. Thanks again to everyone who has sent books, art supplies, etc.as you can see, they have been put to phenomenal use.

Until next time-which may very well be when I am back on American soil,

Jessica