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Message from the Deans

We are proud of the impact our geographically-diverse alums have on the world. Advocates, educators, diplomats and volunteers, they make dynamic contributions to the peoples of 27 different countries. Alumnae/i work in American-based organizations such as American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Relief Agency, Red Cross and the United Nations.They are also in internationally-based programs, including the Department of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, and in universities in Israel, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, Norway, U.K. and Zimbabwe. Geographically distant yet harmonious in intent, the following alumnae/i are determined to make a difference.

—Marcia Martin, Ph.D. ’82, and Raymond Albert, Co-Deans

 

Investing in Children’s Education

The year she graduated, a desire to learn Spanish drew Amy Scheuren, M.S.S. ’05, to Guatemala. Centro de Estudios Pop Wuj, a Spanish language and social work/volunteer program, introduced Scheuren to several indigenous Mayan communities. She regularly volunteered at La Guarderia, which provides child care, after-school and pre-school programs in a rural Mayan village near Xela (Quetzaltenango). She then signed on to be the La Guarderia coordinator, as well as to create a youth development program in Llano del Pinal.

During her tenure as coordinator, Scheuren co-founded Jovenes Juntos, a curriculum component that arranged for basic health care and led field trips to the natural history museum and the library. Curriculum highlights included environmental education and participation in the reforestation/ greenhouse project, and a language conference which included K’iche’, a local native language. Soccer, dance, and Capoeira classes were only surpassed in popularity by the computer classes.

Scheuren is the new treasurer of the Foundation Todos Juntos (todos-juntos.org), which funds various social, medical, and educational projects in western Guatemala.


Jovenes Juntos write in their journals about their experiences following a tour of the Xela volunteer firefighters station, Xela, Guatemala.

 

Committed to the Latin American Community

After meeting in Guatemala in 1993, Ana Lisa Yoder, M.S.S. ’02 and Tony Lapp, M.S.S. ’02 remain committed to serving the Latin American community.

In Guatamala City, Lapp contributed to the development of a cultural center for socio-political studies. Yoder connected with a women’s cooperative (upavim.org) there, part of a squatter settlement.She did community organizing around family violence, and helped run an after-school tutoring program. They returned to the U.S. in 1995 determined to make an impact. They married in 1998 and came to
Bryn Mawr in 2000, bringing their rich international experience to bear on
their studies.

Yoder and Lapp maintain complementary work and life patterns in the Philadelphia area, serving clients from all over the world and developing programs for Latin American clients.Yoder is director of the bilingual domestic violence program of Lutheran Settlement House (lutheransettlement.org) in Fishtown. Lapp is the assistant director of Menergy (menergy.org), a counseling program for domestic abuse perpetrators. He has traveled to Ecuador several times as part of a team providing training in trauma and family violence for local professionals.

The couple says their commitment to helping others stems from being reared in Mennonite families, where social involvement, international perspectives and respect for differences flourished.


Jovenes Juntos participants clean up garbage and recyclable items at La Guarderia in Llano del Pinal, Guatemala.

 

Campaigning for Children’s Rights

Before beginning his graduate studies at Bryn Mawr, Marty Scherr, M.S.S. ’66, joined the Peace Corps, working in the Philippines. His community-organization roots informed his graduate studies, after which he set off for a second stint in the Peace Corps, this time in Honduras.

Scherr’s subsequent work revolved around international issues. In addition to having worked with the inter­national office of the Child Welfare League, he started an organization to push ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).


Amy Scheuren and Jovenes Juntos in Xela, Guatemala.

 

“Ratification is not a perfect solution to international child welfare,” Scherr says, “but experience has shown that it leads to significant improvement in many countries.”           

His organization, Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the CRC, is the only one of its kind. “Opposition to the CRC is disturbing,” he says, “not only because worries about governmental inter­vention in familial autonomy are unfounded, but the treaty actually embodies substantive protections already codified in 80-90 percent of existing national law. “Ultimately, the key to U.S. ratification of the CRC,” he says, “is to get this society to appreciate the benefits of advocacy on behalf of our nation’s children.” Scherr urges those interested in taking action to visit the childrightscampaign.org.
           

 

Return to November 2007 Highlights

 

 

 

 

 
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