Happy International Volunteer Day to all volunteers! If you are a volunteer, take today to celebrate yourself as the world recognizes your selfless contributions and expertise. Here at Partners of the Americas, we know our work is solely made possible because of their efforts. You are what make change possible. We THANK YOU endlessly!
Just a few weeks ago our Oregon Partners, led by our Chairman of the Board, Karen Graham, hosted a dynamite conference that brought together over 120 people representing 34 Partners Chapters and 6 community organizations. This event was truly one of the highlights of my career at Partners and a landmark moment in our ability to connect and share effective practices across our network.
Alex Truesdell, founder of Adaptive Design Association, was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship early this week. The award, commonly known as the “genius award,” grants Truesdell $625,000 to advance her organization’s work. The grant is paid over five years and unlike other grants, there are no strings attached. There are no guidelines and no progress reports expected. It is purely meant to inspire creativity and mobility.
Dr. Ana Palla-Kane is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland. Dr. Palla-Kane works with teachers in the development of strategies to make physical activity programs accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Through Partners’ Sport for Community program, she served as mentor to Dr. Priscila Lopes, an emerging leader in Brazil who works at the Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys.
Arriving in Diamantina, Brazil, was an adventure. The historic city in the state of Minas Gerais is about four and half hours by car from the state capital of Belo Horizonte. Roads with beautiful views and landscapes took us to the heart of Brazilian history, where a gorgeous June sunset greeted us.
This past 10th and 11th of September, Partners members, volunteers, board members, and staff gathered from all over the Americas in the beautiful state of Oregon for our What Works! conference hosted by our Oregon-Costa Rica chapter. The event was created to bring our chapter members from North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean together to share experiences and ideas, and to form new alliances with each other.
As executive director of the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), Mark Lucas has met scores of people involved in sports—he’s even met Brazilians. “The Brazilian people are so incredibly friendly and insanely passionate about their soccer, I mean football,” he joked.
"Climate change is not a problem for another generation, not anymore," President Barack Obama stated during the Clean Energy Power Plan announcement on August 3, 2015.
This statement sent chills down my arms as I watched President Obama's announcement. The Pentagon now considers climate change to be an immediate threat to U.S. national security. This action plan aims to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of renewable energy by 32% by 2030 compared to the 2005 levels.
The atmosphere at the onset of the second 100,000 Strong in the Americas Capacity Building Workshop, supported by the U.S. Department of State, was contagious – the room swelled with hundreds of higher education experts eager to explore what works in student exchange. The turnout revealed the deep-seated interest in the hemisphere to improve educational opportunities – an interest that, as the past five years indicate, will only continue to grow.