Paraguay, Peace Corps and Partners

The latest Partners of the Americas blog included this piece about Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Brendan Hughes and Ronaldo a student in the community of Yhu. Ronaldo was chosen as a Youth Ambassador and visited Montana. He missed Kansas but we are still pleased with the success and the connection between the Peace Corps, Partners and Paraguay.


Partners new Youth Program in Paraguay

The US Department of State has chosen Partners of the Americans to implement an exchange between the United States and Paraguay.

  • The central theme to the Paraguay program is Environment and Climate Change complemented with the sub-themes of Dialogue and Debate, Community Service and Leadership Development
  • The program will include 21 U.S. participants (18 youth and 3 adult mentors) traveling to Paraguay during July of 2013
  • The delegation will first spend 5 days in Washington DC for the Leadership Program component
  • The entire delegation of 21 participants will travel to three communities in Paraguay: Asuncion, Encarnación and Ciudad del Este for approximately 3 weeks.
  • Partners will select youth from all states.

Tentative timeline:

November – February: Recruitment

March – April: Selection

May – June: Orientation and Logistics

July: Travel

August – September: Follow-on

If you have any questions regarding the American Youth Leadership Program, please contact Melissa Golladay at or Abraham Cisne at


Youth Volunteer Opportunity

Red2012 World Youth Volunteering Network: Pursue your Passion, Develop your Skills, Multiply your Impact

Are you a young volunteer seeking to pursue your passions, develop your skills and multiply your impact?

Are you part of RED2021 and want to share our message with other young people like you?

Partners of the Americas and the International Organization for Volunteer Effort (IAVE), with air transportation provided in partnership with, American Airlines welcomes you to participate in an open invitation to be a RED2021 AMBASSADOR and represent the network in global events that unite young volunteers on important social issues.

Tell us about the event you would like to participate in and the impact you want to leave on young people by being an Ambassador of RED2021 and you might get access to one of 25 vouchers provided by American Airlines that are reserved by for you.

RED2021 is a partnership between Partners of the Americas and IAVE and was launched in November 2011 as part of the Second World Summit for Youth Volunteering. This event had the support of important organizations like which are committed to the development of innovative social initiatives among young volunteers, leaders and activists all over the world.

The initiative was created as a response to the need to strengthen the commitments of all the young volunteers in the world, providing them with the connections needed to pursue their passions, develop their skills and multiply their impact through volunteering, with a firm commitment to generating a positive global impact.

Together we are more, and better. You make our network the most important platform for youth volunteering in the whole world.

More information and application. RED2021- Information


Goodland, Kansas Hosting Youth Ambassadors

Goodland, KS, September 25, 2011 —
Six Youth Ambassadors and their mentor arrived in
Goodland to begin three-week exchange and service experience.  
The Goodland High School chapter of AFS Intercultural Programs USA, the volunteer-driven exchange organization, will host the group for the 2nd time.    Partners of the Americas select the Ambassadors for the exchange for academics, leadership and service abilities despite economic adversities.
Locally, Mary Porterfield, long-time AFS sponsor and AFS-USA Board Chair 2011-2012, coordinates a network of volunteers for this exchange.  Local AFS members and families host the Ambassadors for home-stays and cultural exchange.
The group will implement small projects during their stay to promote volunteerism as well as learn about the area.   They will work with Genesis, the local food bank, and Goodland Churches’ Thrift Store to extend services to Sherman County’s needy.  They will also visit American Red Cross blood drive, and local volunteer emergency services.
USD 352 will provide educational presentations throughout the district, participate in classroom and Homecoming activities.
The ambassadors will survey area agriculture with visits to Sherman county farms and ranches, agribusinesses, and the Goodland Farmers’ Market.
Northwest Tech College hosts the group October 5th.  October 12th the Ambassadors return home to share their experiences.
The Youth Ambassadors program is sponsored by the US Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and US Embassies and Consulates in participating countries, and is administered by Partners of the Americas.
The Kansas/Paraguay Partners (KPP) of the Americas of which Porterfield is a member sponsors ambassadors in Kansas.

See more photos from the exchange by clicking here!

For more information about this year’s exchange, please visit

  For local information, contact Mary Porterfield at Goodland High School or Nick Evert.

Riley County High School hosts 2010 Paraguayan Youth Ambassadors

For three weeks this spring, 6 Paraguayan high school students  were hosted by Riley County High School, which is located north of Manhattan, Kansas. 

Here are  some of the students and their host siblings at the home of Sarah Gill,  who is a Spanish teacher at Riley County High and the Youth Ambassadors Coordinator there.  The students dined at Sarah’s house and visited with her United Methodist Women’s group.  MaríaVir delighted them with her harp music!

Below is a photo of  the students and their mentor in front of a “Kansas” mural at Riley County Grade  School when they  went there to present to 3rd and 4th graders.

These students were featured in an article in the K-State Collegian!

Article from the K-State Collegian

K-State Collegian > News

Paraguayan students experiencing American Midwest

By Tiara Williams

Published: Tuesday, April 20, 2010


These are the six Paraguayan students with their mentor, Nora Elena Insfran Molina, center, in teacher Sarah Gill’s Spanish classroom at Riley County High School.

Each of the students were were marked as a good representation of Paraguay, involved in service projects, assumed leadership roles and knew English fairly well, were granted the dream of a lifetime. They were chosen from a large applicant pool to come to the United States through the Youth Ambassadors program of the Partners of the Americas organization.

“I’ve never imagined I was going to be here, because it was just a dream and now it is for real,” said Ever Daniel Valdez Leguizamon, recent high school graduate planning to study computer science and 2010 Paraguayan exchange student. “I am having a wonderful time with [my host] family; it is absolutely mind-blowing.”

The purpose of Partners of the Americas, according to, is to improve the lives of people in the Western Hemisphere by working together as citizen volunteers.

Partners of the Americas was founded in 1964 by Jim Boren, who was inspired by Alliance for Progress – a program of government-to-government economic cooperation across the Americas – which was put into effect in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy.

Over the years, the organization has formed 120 non-profit volunteer chapters in the U.S., the Caribbean and South America. Each of the chapters has a partnership with a chapter in a different country or state; for instance, the Paraguayan chapter, Comité Paraguay Kansas, is matched up to its counterpart in Kansas, the Kansas Paraguay Partnership.

The organization has various programs which utilize these partnerships in order to foster intellectual growth from country to country. Programs like the Education and Culture program and the American Business Fellows program fund projects and the exchange of professionals in a variety of fields.

The students from Paraguay came to Kansas as part of the Youth Ambassadors program of the organization. According to the Web site, this program “brings together youth from across the Americas to build understanding between countries, increase leadership skills and prepare youth to be positive agents of change through service.”

Through the ambassadors program, the students are engaged in a three-week exchange. All the students who are involved in the program first travel to Washington D.C. to visit the capital for a week.

The Paraguayans’ second and third weeks are spent in Riley, Kan., where they attend Riley County High School.

Sarah Gill, Spanish teacher at RCHS, works with all six students during their stay.

Gill applied for a scholarship in 2007 to study in Paraguay for a month and in doing so, learned about Kansas Paraguay Partners from others in her Paraguay group. She joined right away. Now, she is in charge of putting the word out to families about being host homes to the students, pairing up families and students, giving brief meetings preparing the families for the culture and language gap and setting up home, school and community activities upon arrival.

On Friday, April 9, the six Paraguayans plus their mentor, Nora Elena Insfran Molina, a English teacher in Paraguay, spent the day at K-State.

“Mrs. Gill, who I had as a Spanish teacher when I was in high school, called me because I coordinate group visits that come to K-State, whether it be middle school, high school or from different states,” said Lori Bammerlin, staff assistant for new student services. “The students toured the newsroom in Kedzie Hall, the Music Department because some of the kids play instruments like the harp, Hale Library, Call Hall for ice cream and the International Student Center for Coffee Hour.”

Having all seven of them at Coffee Hour, which was on Colombia, delighted Sara Thurston-González, director of international student and scholar services.

“I ended up meeting with them for about 15-20 minutes and just talked about the role of International Student and Scholar Services on campus and the programs and events we have,” Thurston-González said. “I had a lovely time with them. They were all so sweet and excited to be here.”

Already, the Paraguayan students have presented to a grade school and a retirement home with a history teacher. On Wednesday, April 14, they went to Topeka and this past Saturday and Sunday, Gill said they went to Kansas City to Worlds of Fun, The Negro League Baseball Museum, the Jazz Museum and other places around town.

Despite all the fun it appears the students will enjoy, they are still working and learning in the classroom. Gill’s Spanish 2 class is working with them to create a children’s book, accomplishing the task of utilizing both languages to communicate and get the job done.

Gill said she helps them to increase literacy by getting books into the hands of children and learning how to read to children because that, in turn, aids them with their education.

This exchange student program is very enriching, Gill said, for her students.

“The Paraguayans are ambassadors to us, but we are as well to them,” she said. “And not everyone can have an international student experience, but this way, both sides kind of do.”

KPP Annual Meeting–Report from the K-State Collegian

Program works to promote Paraguay, U.S. exchange
From the K-State Collegian Online

By Mayra Rivarola
Published: Monday, March 22, 2010

An international volunteer organization, Kansas Paraguay Partners, discussed the progress of their work in an annual meeting on March 13 in the K-State Student Union.

Volunteers from the group are organized in 10 committees that are involved in projects from different areas, including conservation, civil society, health education, and cultural exchange, which have served both Kansas and Paraguay.

“This long-standing cooperation has benefited us in Paraguay and in Kansas,” said Rigoberto Gauto, Paraguayan Ambassador in the United States. “I hope to see us getting closer together for the benefit of both.”

The organization promotes people-to-people exchange between Paraguayans and Kansans, as members of Partners of the Americas. With POA, states are partnered with regions or countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to promote cooperation and exchange.

In the area of conservation, the Asuncion Zoo Project started in Manhattan in 1994 in collaboration with the Friends of Sunset Zoological Park, said Bob Klemm, director of conservation and research for Sunset Zoo. Klemm was contacted to assist the zoo in Paraguay because of the Sunset Zoo transformation. Since then, he has traveled back and forth to assist in the renovation of the zoo in Paraguay.

“The state of the zoo there was deplorable,” Klemm said. “The animals were unhappy and unhealthy and the visitors were unhappy, with no desire to visit a stinky zoo.”

In partnership with a local foundation and with Klemm’s guidance and expertise, the zoo in Paraguay has gone through major renovations. Animal shelters and walkways for visitors were improved, informational boards were implemented and a reception area and kiosks were added.

“The last time I went to the zoo I was really impressed by the changes,” said Cecilia Crosa, alumna from Wichita State University and Paraguayan resident. “Years ago, I remember the zoo being smelly and dirty.”

Today, groups of children fill the zoo and are eager to learn more about the natural environment and the animals, said Klemm.

Another project that was discussed at the meeting was the Youth Ambassador Exchange.

Every year, high school students from public schools in Paraguay travel to Kansas. Students reside with a local family and attend a local high school for three weeks, said Mary Bradshaw, Kansas resident and program coordinator.

This year five students from Kansas will be traveling to Paraguay, she said.

“Paraguayan students have been traveling to Kansas for a few years and they have been meeting people,” said Bradshaw. “They have sparked interest in American students to travel abroad and learn about other cultures.”

At the college level, there have been about 700 students who have studied or are still studying in universities in Kansas, said Gauto. But the partnership now is seeking to attract U.S. students to study in Paraguay as well.

For more information about their ongoing project, see

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