Chapters Respond During COVID-19

Communication is more important than ever when physically distancing, and many Chapters are up and running organizing meetings and activities via virtual platforms. 

Below are some resounding examples of Chapters going above and beyond to serve their communities:

  • Antioquia, Colombia Chapter: To help their community during #COVID19, the Antioquia, Colombia Chapter started the campaign “Y sí todos ayudamos toma o dona” (“What if everyone helps, take or donate” in English). They set up food stands and with the help of donations, the Chapter purchased food for 300 apartments housing elderly and low-income families. In May, the Antioquia Chapter shared its 2019 Management Report on board and executive management with their accompanying Massachusetts Chapter. It includes how to become a member, and their committees and projects. Members presented it to their assembly members on May 26, 2020. 
  • Southwest Colombia Chapter: The Southwest Colombia Chapter offers sports, recreational, and physical activity programs for participants at home via Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
  • Costa Rica Chapter: The Costa Rica Chapter raised 100,000 colones to a program run by the First Lady of the Republic to give small stipends to people most in need or who have lost their jobs. Additionally, the Chapter has loaned two wheelchairs to post-operative patients without the resources to rent or purchase them.
  • São Paulo, Brazil Chapter: Luiz Oliveira, Chapter President, hosts meditation on Tuesday and Thursday evenings via Facebook Live. You can subscribe/follow his channel for recorded sessions on demand.
  • Tennessee Chapter: The Chapter disseminates epidemiologic testing, and medical research on mitigation strategies and vaccine trials to Nashville and other areas statewide, such as a summary of COVID-19 literature. In March, Renowned Venezuelan Journalist Giovanni Daboin traveled to Tennessee to help Tennessee Chapter President James Gary Linn and Venezuela Chapter President Yraima Méndez document their Chapters' more than 40 years of history, as a part of our Education and Culture program. Daboin was supposed to return home to Venezuela in late March, but due to COVID-19, he can't until the country's borders open again. The journalist continues to collect testimonies virtually and the Chapters' archival report will serve as a model for other Chapters. 
  • Rochester Chapter, New York Chapter: Theresa Bowick, President of the Rochester, New York Chapter and Executive Director of Conkey Cruisers, an organizational member of the Chapter, was featured in an article for creating hygiene products for community members. 
  • PartnersCampus Uninúñez, Colombia: The PartnersCampus Student Chapter at the Corporación Universitaria Rafael Núñez (Uninúñez) hosts online talks every week. Jaír Frias, who works in the Domestic and International Relations Office and is the advisor of the PartnersCampus Uninúñez Chapter, has organized these virtual discussions about topics ranging from emotional intelligence to tips for controlling anxiety. Follow the Uninúñez Facebook page for weekly updates and the link to join! 
  • Plant Trees and Breathe Free: Breathing is something we take for granted, until you can’t. Iracambi, an organization in the Mata Atlântica affiliated with the Colorado and Minas Gerais, Brazil Chapters and previous grantee of Partners’ Education and Culture Program has been planting trees to save the planet since 2019. Check out their latest fundraiser here.
  • Brasília, D.F., Brazil Chapter: The Brasília, D.F., Brazil Chapter has posted its Projecto Reconecta Brasília on Instagram (@reconectabsb) to offer assistance and remind the community that taking care of one’s mental health during a pandemic is essential. The Chapter also announced a free mental health clinic to deal with a community in crisis – job loss, stress, and anxiety of juggling work, and family, health, and wellness concerns. On May 21, the Chapter held a live discussion on anxiety, its origin, and how to avoid it. On May 23, the Chapter hosted a "Music Without Borders" event with the Washington, D.C. Chapter to celebrate music across cultures. On June 1, the Brasília Chapter hosted a live event with Believe Credit Solutions to discuss how to manage finances in times of crisis.
  • Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners: The Wisconsin-Nicaragua Chapters' learning centers, and education and vocational centers in Nicaragua for women entrepreneurship, are at work preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic, receiving orders to produce masks for a medical center in Nicaragua. Chapter members and partners donated their sewing supplies. Due to COVID-19, the Center’s Rainbow Team is in the process of vacating the property that housed their Learning Center, but the Team will adjust and find a new location. The Learning Center has changed lives over the decades, including Rosa’s, a Nicaraguan woman who was impoverished and did not have marketable skills. In 1997, with the help of the Learning Center, she learned how to sew with donated sewing machines. Now in 2020, she is leading the Rainbow Team and mentoring other women. Read the Chapter's report on the Learning Centers here. In June, the Chapter developed a document detailing how they are making hats and masks for local communities in Nicaragua. The Chapter was also advertising to receive American Girl Dolls and a chess set to give to children in Nicaragua. In April, SILAIS Granada created a report on its prenatal vitamin project sponsored by the Lions and thanked the Chapter for donating 7,000 Medox Prenatal tablets that provide essential vitamins and minerals before, during, and after pregnancy. In July, the Wisconsin-Nicaragua Chapter shared that Carlos Altamirano learned how to sew from a Learning Center in Nicaragua two years ago and is now sewing and selling masks during COVID-19 to help those in need. The Chapter also shared that a shipment of humanitarian aid cargo made its way to Nicaragua. The collaborative efforts of the Chapter and the Minneapolis Air Reserve Station allow the Chapter to be a conduit for everyday people who have the desire to help others. In late July 2020, the Wisconsin-Nicaragua Chapter shared a video that showcased their Denton shipment, in which they sent two ambulances, 11 pallets of turnout gear/EMS equipment, and 29 pallets of supplies to Nicaragua. This shipment will support a broad range of the Chapter's programs in Nicaragua, including lending libraries, learning centers, potable water and humanitarian assistance, and more. The Chapter also shared two reports that highlight their process of sending bike and rehabilitation items donations to Nicaragua. Also in July, some of the Chapter's Learning Centers reactivated their classes. The Smile Learning Center works with children and resumed its baking class with 10 kids, who learned how to make a cassava cake. 
  • PartnersCampus Udesa, Argentina: PartnersCampus Udesa has launched an Instagram campaign featuring daily advice on how to cope with isolation during the pandemic and has invited followers to contribute their own stories and tips to the campaign.
  • PartnersCampus EAFIT, Colombia: On May 20, PartnersCampus EAFIT hosted a virtual Tin Talk to discuss experiences abroad and to meet new people and cultures. 
  • Red Internacional de Estudiantes por La Paz (Red Espaz), Peru: Red Espaz is holding a Zoom video call every Friday to share the experiences of their "Peace Promoter" volunteers located in different parts of the world. On June 12, the Chapter held its "Promoters of Peace in times of COVID-19" event with Partners President and CEO John McPhail. The Red Espaz Chapter is held its third event with the Peace Culture Managers to discuss "Culture of Peace in the time of COVID-19: how to restore social integration" on June 9 and 10. The Peace Culture Managers Program seeks to train young people committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda to transform our world without leaving anyone behind.
  • PartnersCampus Uninorte, ColombiaPartnersCampus Uninorte hosted a live chat on stress and emotional independence on April 23, 2020. 
  • PartnersCampus Goiânia, BrazilPartnersCampus Goiânia has shared infographics from the Partners HQ about COVID-19 on social media. The PartnersCampus Goiânia Chapter and the Sāo Paulo Chapter hosted the Partners Music Festival. The event aimed to create fun and relaxing times through music. Every week, a Partners of the Americas Chapter presented a musical attraction from May 30, 2020 until September 26, 2020.
  • Minnesota-Uruguay Chapter: The Minnesota-Uruguay Chapter held its annual meeting virtually on May 16 to celebrate the strong people-to-people partnership between the two countries. They shared stories from the past year and looked forward to the next and had asados (barbeques) in their own backyards.
  • New Jersey-Haiti Chapter: The New Jersey-Haiti Chapter celebrated Haitian Heritage Month on May 16. For one uplifting hour, the Jersey Shore Haitian American community came together to share music, scholarships, and the richness of Haitian culture via Facebook Live.
  • Long Island, New York Chapter: Members from our Long Island Chapter joined the Belmont Lake Civic Association and others in participating in a memorial parade of cars to pay tribute to 3 West Babylon, Long Island residents who recently died, 2 of which from #COVID19. With horns blaring, dozens of vehicles lined West Babylon streets on April 25 with the affected families standing on their porches and lawns to honor their lives.
  • ACTS: Americans Caring, Teaching and Sharing - ACTS (Vermont and Honduras), an affiliate member of Partners, works in coordination with the Honduras Partners Chapter, local service providers, and others to provide essential resources for improved quality of life. They are at the heart of medical care by training staff and setting up health and dental clinics in these communities and continue to do this work during COVID-19.  
  • St. Vincent and Grenada Chapter: St. Vincent and Grenada Chapter Member and Former A Ganar Director, Wayne F. Williams, hosted a Sports Education Online Forum on behalf of the Sunshine Basketball Academy. On May 17, Wayne and the speakers discussed the optimal nutrition for optimized athletic performance via Zoom. 
  • Indiana Chapter: Former Legislative Fellow Roger Dorneles and other Partners Indiana Chapter members wrote a blog about the spirit of volunteerism in helping with the COVID-19 situation in Rio Grande do Sul. 
  • Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Chapter: Rio Grande do Sul Chapter members handed out 40 “cestas básicas” (boxes with food, personal hygiene, and cleaning products) to a community center called Centro Social Madre Madalene. This center serves one of the poorer neighborhoods in Porto Alegre. On July 11, 2020, the Partners Rio Grande Do Sul/Indiana Chapter (RS/IN) hosted a live event with artist and member of the Chapter, Mariza Carpes. She talked about her journey and inspirations in a conversation on Instagram with the vice-president of the RS/IN Chapter. In July, the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Chapter members created food baskets for a community center in Porto Alegre to help 130 families who depend on their generosity to survive.
  • Cochabamba, Bolivia-North Carolina Chapter: The Cochabamba and North Carolina Chapters held an open house virtually on Saturday, June 6. Members learned who the members are and their activities, heard testimonies from past travelers and presidents of their Chapters, and more. 
  • Texas Chapter: The Partners Texas Chapter postponed a dialogue on June 8, 2020 at 2pm CST on Zoom. When the event happens, panelists will discuss new potential directions that Partners of the Americas will take in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and participants will share any questions and concerns. Since September, the Texas Chapter and Bolivian Chapters in Santa Cruz, La Paz, and Cochabamba have been actively raising funds for a Bolivia COVID-19 Relief Fund. The need for medication, oxygen respirators, and other medical resources and tools are urgent, and their goal is to reach $200,000 in donations.
  • PartnersCampus Uniatlántico: The PartnersCampus Uniatlántico Student Chapter hosted a virtual conference on June 16, 2020 focusing on Social Entrepreneurship in Latin America with two sessions related to presenting actions of social transformation of vulnerable communities in Brazil and other locations throughout Latin America.
  • Illinois Chapter: The Illinois-São Paulo Chapter's partners, Physical Theater Festival Chicago, are showing, “The Woman Who Dreamed" on July 18, 2020. It tells a story that appears in this pandemic moment when the artists realized that the theater could continue to exist. It was created by Cia de Teatro Manual, a theater company from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Illinois-São Paulo Chapter then invited the Partners Network to chat about music and learn about the history and legacy of samba with samba performer and singer Dill Costa and samba dancer Ana Carla Laidley on September 12 as a part of their Partners Talk Series.
  • Yucatan Chapter: The Yucatan Chapter is converting their Community Cultural Center into a Community Garden in conjunction with the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatan and the Foundation Haciendas del Mundo Maya AC. They have raised $12,000 for an emergency food bank, seeds, and irrigation system generated through solar energy, and technical assistance to produce fertilizers, compost, and access other materials to implement the project. The goal is for families to produce their own healthier food.  
  • PartnersCampus San Simón Chapter: The PartnersCampus San Simón Chapter hosted its second event with Dr. Elena Gutiérrez Apaza on August 1, 2020 to discuss domiciliary treatment for COVID-19. In the talk, the Dr. gave guidance for how to care for and treat a sick relative with the virus with pharmacological treatment.
  • Missouri Chapter: In July, Missouri Chapter Members John Henschke, Steve Jeanetta, Clarence Woflshohl, and Anadil Iftekar published an updated book titled, The Making of An Adult Educator Malcolm Knowles An Autobiographical Journey: An Update.
  • Capítulo Paraguay-Kansas: The Capítulo Paraguay-Kansas (CPK) offered a series of webinars and courses in August 2020 for teachers regarding online teaching, methodologies, and platforms with the support of Kansas Universities like Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, and others. The Chapter is working with the Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) Chapter in a proposal for more courses and exchange spaces for teachers.
  • District of Columbia, U.S. Chapter: The District of Columbia Chapter shared a message of support in their Newsletter that included a link to the song, "Andrà Tutto Bene." The artist, Cristóvam, sings “everything will be all right” in Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, and German. 
  • The Chapter hosted a virtual Zoom presentation on Transformational Art-Making in Times of Crisis with Mural Artist Joel Bergner on Friday, June 19. Joel discussed how collaborative art-making led by vulnerable youth, artists, and communities can affect social change.
  • Board members of the D.C. Chapter, Jackie Rivas and Denise Decker, are working for democracy and continuously providing outreach to members during the pandemic, respectively. Jackie has been actively engaging with the League of Women Voters and OneVirginia2021 to bring redistricting reform to Virginia. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated many aspects of both educating voters on the constitutional amendment and the voting process itself. As a result of the pandemic, Jackie and the organizations are planning webinars and to hold Zoom meetings on redistricting. The pandemic has made organizations and individuals like Jackie look at everything from a new perspective and reexamine how to accomplish the same objectives with different tools. In mid-March, Denise provided Chapter members with information on the Chapter project goals for 2020, including Community Service, Connecting Educators and Students, Capital City Representation, Advocacy, and Chapter Sustainability. 
  • In late May, the District of Colombia, U.S. Chapter sent out a Newsletter to share that while they cannot embrace their members, we should all embrace wearing face masks.