U. S. Servas

promoting world peace one conversation at a time…

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Peace Project Updates

We’ve been lucky to volunteer at some wonderful events so far this year.

For our January Peace Project we gathered together to celebrate and honor Martin Luther King Jr’s impact on civil rights, social justice and peace by volunteering at the MLK Day Bowl of Beans Benefit. This event was sponsored by Arcata Recreation, Arcata Elementary School and News Channel 3. Proceeds benefited Arts in the Afternoon and Arcata Elementary School (near our office in Northern California.) Our volunteers helped prepare a meal of rice, beans, cornbread and salad and helped assist children color and put together an MLK mural.

MLK mural


Our February Peace Project involved participating in a very important, global event on February 14th. One Billion Rising is a world wide initiative to stop violence against women. Our staff joined together with many community members and friends to rise up and dance to harness our power and imagination to rise for justice. Together we made a statement that we will not tolerate violence against women and children in our community and around the world.

feb 2014 peace project


In March we were excited to volunteer at a fund raiser that brought in $61,000 for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)! CASA speaks for children in the foster care system in court because all children have a right to live in a safe, healthy and secure environment. CASA’s Big Night Dinner and Auction is one of their biggest fundraisers and we got to help! Our Peace Project Volunteers enjoyed helping usher and keep the auction running smoothly.

march peace project


Stay tuned for updates on future Peace Projects and feel free to contact us with any ideas for projects or to share peace initiatives you’ve participated in!


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2014 Servas Youth Meeting Kyrgyzstan: save the date!

We hope you will consider attending the upcoming Youth Conference in Kyrgyztan and encourage other youth in your area to attend as well! This will be an exciting event spanning 5 days during the last week in July.

More details to follow regarding registration process, funding possibilities, conditions and program as soon as we confirm the venue. Till then – please, save the date, be patient and stay tuned @ http://servas.pl/Kyrgyzstan/


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NewGround Gathering

On a warmish sunny Sunday afternoon Nov. 17th Servas Los Angeles gathered at the home of host Linda Mansouri in Valinda, California.  Linda’s home is a tribute to her numerous trips abroad.  She has collected tribal and ethnic textiles, clothing and articles from all over the globe and displayed them beautifully throughout her home.  It made it the perfect atmosphere to have a Servas meeting.

People came from all over Southern California—from as far south as San Diego and north to the Simi Valley.  We had 38 people who came to partake of a delicious pot luck lunch and listen to two wonderful speakers.  Our Friendship Force friends Sharon Lavenberg and Sharon Levy joined us too.  Many of us ate outside in the yard but, squeezed comfortably into Linda’s living room for the program.

Our speakers, Fares Alhassen and Ben Gertner, are alumni from NewGround.  NewGround began in 2006 as a response to the climate of tension and mistrust between Jews and Muslims in Los Angeles.  But more importantly, NewGround was founded to create a national model for healthy relations, productive engagement and social change between American Muslims and Jews.

To transform the landscape, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and  Progressive Jewish Alliance joined forces to create a fellowship for emerging Muslim and Jewish leaders to change the tone of the conversation.  Today, NewGround is an independent group fiscally sponsored by Community Partners and housed at the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission.

Fares and Ben shared their personal stories and what it has meant to part of NewGround.  They are both fathers now and this will be undoubtedly be passed onto the next generation.  You are invite you look at their web site http://www.muslimjewishnewground.org/





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September Peace Project

By now you’re probably familiar with Servas Peace Projects, however, in case you aren’t here’s the low down. We coordinate one peace-building activity a month in our local community and encourage Servas members across the nation to join us or set up a similar event in their area.  We hope that in doing this we will help spur a nation wide initiative for peace. We promote our project for the month and we want to tell you about our September event. We are really excited to team up with Zero Waste Humboldt in hopes of making the annual North Country Fair, in Northern California, a zero waste event!
The Fair is September 21st and 22nd on the Arcata Plaza and 50 volunteers are need for both days. Volunteers will be asked to commit to a one-hour advance training and to sign up for a minimum of 2-hours, preferably, a 4-hour shift of service on Saturday, September 21, or Sunday, September 22.  If you are interested in joining us, please contact US Servas at info@usservas.org or (707) 825-1714.
To learn more or for any question, you may also contact zwhvolunteers@gmail.com or margaret.gainer@gmail.com
If you can’t join us at the North Country Fair, we encourage you to consider helping make an event in your area a Zero Waste event! We hope to see you there!
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Lantern Floating Ceremony

Bianca floating lanterns lanterns making lanterns more floating more lanterns 2 more lanterns rizza's

lanterns on the plaza

On August 3rd Servas members and staff helped the community make lanterns at the Arcata, California Farmer’s Market to send out at the 31st annual Lantern Floating Ceremony, in memory of the victims of the U.S  bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 68 years ago. The lantern ceremony later that evening at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary was touching and beautiful. Ceremony attendees sang together and listened to poems of peace before sending out the floating lanterns. on the water. We really enjoyed being a part of this event and plan on participating again. We encourage Servas members around the world to look into volunteering at or attending an event like this in your area next year.

Stay tuned to hear more about our September Peace Project! We plan on volunteering to help make the annual North Country Fair in Arcata, California a Zero Waste event! Consider helping make an event in your area a Zero Waste event!