- GET INVOLVED
Communique Winter 1999
|(left to right) Hawley Botchford, Harry Chapin Food Bank; David Pasquarelli, FAVA/CA; Arturo Quintana Penafiel, Solo por Aydar; and Marie Coffey, Second Harvest Food Bank.|
In September 1999, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba , invited FAVA/CA president David Pasquarelli to meet with leaders of various Mexican non-profit organizations in Tallahassee. As follow up, Pasquarelli and staff conducted a fact-finding mission from November 29 to December 2 last year to determine how Florida�s expertise can benefit her across-the-gulf neighbor. Accompanying Pasquarelli were Marie Coffey, executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Big Bend in Tallahassee, and Hawley Botchford, executive director of the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers.
The goal of the mission was to meet with two organizations in Mexico City, S�lo por Ayudar and Grupo Alt�a Banco de Alimentos, which are trying to develop their food banks to meet the overwhelming requirements of the needy populations. The FAVA/CA consultants gained an understanding of their operations and challenges and were able to offer recommendations for any necessary training.
"I felt the visit, while brief, accomplished several things," Botchford reported. "We got a good overview of the problems they face and the resources currently available to meet the tremendous needs. We also developed warm relationships and opened excellent communications with the staff and boards of both organizations. "I do feel they are open to assistance from any source available and have the abilities to implement any training into their organizations," he continued.
The consultants have recommended that both organizations visit Florida. Additionally, Botchford offered to set up a tour to give them an overview of food banks in Florida. "I enjoyed the visit and would enjoy working with these organizations in the future," Botchford concluded.
|Volunteers Julian Ashmore and John Scafidi, and participants being given a tour of a Harbour Island House.|
Three volunteers from the Florida State Parks Bureau of Natural and Cultural Resources provided the Bahamas consultation on restorative programs for the interpretation and exhibition phases of historic forts and museums from November 14 through 19, 1999.
Fourteen Bahamian managers and staff were trained in management of cultural resources in a program sponsored by the Government of the Bahamas, Ministry of Education, Department of Archives. Brian Polk, Julian Ashmore and John Scafidi visited forts and historic sites and conducted a training session on exhibits, interpretation and preservation.
"We had been in contact with their staff in the Bahamas for about two years. Some of them came to visit our parks and forts about a year ago, and they were eager for us to come there and share our knowledge," said Polk. "The timing was especially good because their government had just passed an antiquities act, a broad piece of legislation for preserving cultural resources and historic artifacts. They are currently in the process of setting up a corporation to fund some of their projects and hire more staff. FAVA/CA enabled us to make a timely visit and give them the assistance they needed," he concluded.
In addition to providing consultations, Polk and Scafidi gave presentations at a Forum on Historic Preservation and Interpretation of the Built Environment in Nassau, attended by approximately 60 people.
"The entire project was a success with far-reaching benefits already accrued and more to be realized in the future," said Dr. Keith Tinker, section supervisor of the Archaeology, Museums and Historic Sites Section, Department of Archives, Pompey Museum.
"It was a very rewarding experience," Polk said. "The people were very open to our recommendations and suggestions. It�s exciting to be a part of this government initiative, and we plan to foster an on-going relationship."
FAVA/CA and the U.S. Department of State�s Global Technology Corps Program have established a partnership to develop technology-based volunteer projects in the Caribbean and Central America. The Global Technology Corps (GTC) is a public-private partnership program that recruits high-tech volunteers for short-term projects worldwide.
"FAVA/CA is looking forward to working with the GTC in the coming months. This partnership creates an exciting potential to strengthen humanitarian and educational efforts in the Caribbean," said Dave Schmeling, vice president of the Florida International Volunteer Corps.
FAVA/CA brings twelve years of experience in providing volunteer services to the partnership and will serve as a liaison for non-profit organizations overseas which can be assisted by GTC.
"Our goal is to provide technology to improve the value of life in the realm of public diplomacy," said Timothy Bennett, a program coordinator with the Office of International Information Programs at the State Department. "This partnership will enable us to be more efficient by broadening our volunteer base and providing guidance in future volunteer projects."
The first instance of the new partnership occurred this past October when FAVA/CA provided a qualified consultant to establish a computer network for the Ministry of Education of St. Lucia to provide Internet services to its students throughout the country.
During the week-long program in St. Lucia, FAVA/CA volunteer, Tim West, installed the first three routers which will be used for the Ministry of Education�s proposed school intranet system. West, a business education teacher and computer consultant with the South Dade Adult Education Center in Homestead, Florida volunteered for FAVA/CA in Belize in December of 1998 and June of 1999, both times with the Center for Employment Training.
As part of the initial St. Lucia project, West also trained a tech specialist to install the remaining routers. This assistance moved the Ministry�s "Computers Millennium Project" forward. "Our partnership with FAVA/CA has been outstanding," Bennett said. "We are planning to work with FAVA/CA relatively soon on more projects in the Caribbean and Central America."
Rustin Levenson, conservation director of Rustin Levenson Art Conservation Associates, with studios in Miami and New York City, conducted a workshop in early December in Barbados. She covered topics such as collections preservation planning, hurricane planning and recovery, and basic preservation techniques.
"I spent most of the workshop teaching the participants how to care for their collections in a tropical climate where they have problems such as humidity, pests and light damage. We talked about everything from air conditioning, storage, hanging techniques and the hazards of different kinds of light," said Levenson, who has been elected a Fellow in both the American Institute for Conservation in Washington, D.C. and the International Institute for Conservation in London.
Levenson also provided the participants with literature and web-site connections to companies that can offer them further assistance.
The Collections Care Symposium was organized by Jennifer Small, director and curator of the Barbados Gallery of Art. The participants represented a diverse mix of public institutions, private businesses, artists and collectors.
"They certainly have a concern with preservation," Levenson said. "Many of the early works have been badly damaged or destroyed, especially by the climate. You have to be very vigilant. They want to make sure their art and their historical artifacts are available for future generations."
In addition to speaking at the symposium, Levenson visited museums and historic sites, discussing and identifying sources with arts administrators and advising individual artists on materials and techniques. She also discussed concepts for a national gallery with advisory board members. "It was wonderful. The people were so kind and generous with their time," Levenson concluded. "I think everyone had a good time at the seminar."
She added that she plans to stay in contact with participants and to be available to answer further questions that may arise. FAVA/CA board member Dora Vald�s-Fauli was instrumental in recruiting Levenson as a FAVA/CA volunteer.
"It was a pleasure to meet Rustin Levenson. It�s not often on our small island that we get a chance to share our conservation concerns with someone who knows exactly what we are talking about and who also knows the solutions!" said Penelope Hynam Roach, executive director, Barbados National Trust.
Dr. Tshai M. Bailey, psychologist and assistant professor at Florida International University in Miami, conducted workshops at the request of the Jamaica Young Women�s Christian Association (YWCA) in October 1999. The workshops, presented to more than 100 parents, counselors and administrators in four different locations, dealt with parent effectiveness and behavior management techniques.
The main purpose of the mission was to address behavioral issues of children between the ages of 10 to 15 who have dropped out of the regular school system and who are now participants in an alternative project organized by the YWCA. Bailey�s workshops were aimed at counselors and parents.
"I stressed to the parents the importance of discipline as a teaching tool, not punishment, and the need for consistency, love, support and encouragement of their children as well as their roles as mentors," Bailey said.
Minna McLeod, general secretary of the Jamaica YWCA, requested the workshop to help decrease crime and violence, especially in the home. The goal of the YWCA�s alternative educational program is to return the children to the regular school system and to involve more parents in this effort. Bailey met informally with administrators and counselors at each location and then conducted programs for parents and staff.
"Going to Jamaica West Indies and training the parents, counselors and administrators of the YWCA was absolutely a rewarding experience," Bailey said. "Certainly more needs to be done, and I would be willing to go again next year to monitor their progress and update their skills."
|Miguel Rivera (seated, third from left) and his students.|
Miguel Rivera of Port Orange, Florida works part-time at the South Dade Adult Education Center, and this past November he took his skills to El Salvador to conduct training in computer maintenance and repair for prisoners and instructors under the auspices of Confraternidad Carcelaria.
Confraternidad Carcelaria of El Salvador is a Catholic charity that aims to assist prisoners by preparing them to return to society as productive, reformed citizens. In the past two years, Confraternidad Carcelaria has trained more than 600 prisoners in basic computer skills in order to help released prisoners find employment.
"When I went to San Salvador, I was confronted with eight individuals who had limited or no knowledge of how personal computers worked. I was able to teach them basic computer operations, troubleshooting procedures, repairs and maintenance," Rivera said. "By the end of the trip I could see and detect the changes in those individuals."
Rivera gained many of his computer skills in the United States Army where he was trained in missile guidance and radar technology and in command and control systems computer technology. After his retirement from the army in 1980, he worked in the Miami-Dade Public Schools as an electronic systems technician and a computer systems technician until 1997.
"To me the trip was a success because I was able to share my knowledge with eight individuals who were ready and eager to learn. Five of those individuals are prison inmates who will sooner or later leave confinement. When they return to society, if at least one of them becomes a productive citizen, society and the country will benefit," Rivera concluded.
Confraternidad Carcelaria�s efforts are concentrated at the largest prison in the country "La Mariona" in San Salvador but efforts are underway to establish similar programs elsewhere.
Sheila Mullins, former mayor of Key West, and Alan Woolwich, a state planner from Key West, conducted training in the municipalities of Montrouis and St. Louis du Sud from December 8-14, 1999. The training was offered in response to a request by Roger Dunwell with the Haitian Tourism Association and Ann Hauge, director of Agrisupply.
Both organizations are working towards coastal development in the southern region of Haiti. The training focused on strengthening municipal capacity and promotion of coastal development in tourism.
"The FAVA/CA team made a fly-over as well as a land-based inspection of areas identified by the Haitian government as having prime potential as tourist destinations," Dunwell said. "They confirmed the potential of these areas and spent the better part of a day reviewing existing plans and development criteria with me. I am hoping to have a second trip during which the same team can meet with local leaders, after the upcoming elections." He also added, "As usual, the FAVA/CA team was marvelous."
|(left to right) Marianne Walzer and Karen Wells of the Miami Jewish Home.|
FAVA/CA aging experts Marianne Walzer and Karen Wells of the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged conducted training, sponsored by HelpAge Belize, for 50 volunteer and professional care givers in Belize City from September 27 to October 1, 1999.
HelpAge Belize is the leading comprehensive elder care service provider in Belize, and training is a high priority on the 1999-2000 work plan, according to Secretary Harold Flowers.
"We offered them techniques of appraisal, coping mechanisms, and basic skills for personal care for elders," Wells said. "We trained both professionals from nursing care facilities and volunteers in the care of stroke patients, elements of communication and dealing with difficult issues."
Much of the care for elders in Belize is conducted by volunteers who lack the formal mechanisms for dealing with some of the issues they face. Currently, the various volunteer organizations are attempting to develop their own infrastructure, and so training was especially timely.
"On the whole it was a very successful training session. Attendance was more than anticipated and the group requested follow-up training," said Rose Armstrong, president of the Black Cross Nurses Association. "The program on the whole went across well, it was well organized and planned. It flowed together. The trainers were great together and they offered a lot of practical aspects." As a result of the workshops, volunteers will offer more physical therapy to stroke patients and will be better able to communicate with patients and their families.
"The workshops were marvelous," Walzer said. "The participants were attentive and interested in learning new skills. They were highly motivated to be there. We were impressed." Walzer and Wells served under FAVA/CA�s Seniors in Service Overseas program.
Under an agreement with USAID-Haiti, 18 Florida International Volunteer Corps consultants in emergency management and municipal operations will provide training and technical assistance to Haitian counterparts in Haiti and Florida in 2000. This is a continuation of a long-standing relationship with both USAID and Haiti. FAVA/CA�s first mission was conducted in Haiti in 1982. Since 1991, more than 65 missions and over 100 volunteers have been fielded in support of Haiti social programs, environment, health and emergency management initiatives.