Jacksonville hosts first International People’s Project

Jacksonville hosts first International People’s Project
Residents from both sides of the river who support CISV include Lisa Taylor, Anya Raheja, Kerri Napoleon, Nikita Raheja, Valerie Ritchie, Stephanie Donelan, Olivia Nolan, Mary Beth Dyer, Nick Napoleon, Dana Nolan, Jim Nolan, Amelia Dyer and Greg Dyer.

CISV Jacksonville, the local nonprofit chapter of CISV, Inc. (formerly Children’s International Summer Village) hosted 19 International People’s Project volunteers from Europe, Egypt, Ecuador and the United States, who worked July 15 to August 2 with various organizations that offer sustainable solutions in North Florida.  

Founded in 1950, CISV offers seven programs for youth and adults that educate and inspire action for a more just and peaceful world. Six of the programs are for youth but International People’s Project is for adults age 19 and older. 

“The theme of this year’s program is sustainable development,” said Lisa Taylor, host of the welcome party in Avondale on July 17. “We plan for the volunteers to get to know each other, learn about environmental problems and solutions in North Florida and share how they address similar issues in their own countries.”

The volunteers began on a project with the National Parks Service at Timucuan Preserve to test the presence of microplastics in soil and water in the Preserve and increase awareness of the global issue of marine debris and microplastics in the environment.

They also volunteered at the Jacksonville Zoo where they learned about sustainability initiatives there, visited a land mitigation bank, built a bioswale – in conjunction with Groundworks Jacksonville – on the S-Line trail in Springfield, worked with Greenscape and the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department to improve the Camp Milton Rails to Trails, and also volunteered at Rethreaded and the Teacher Supply Depot.

 Stephanie Donelan, a volunteer with CISV, started by attending a Summer Village in Detroit when she was 11 years old and has been active ever since. She has been the local leadership trainer for three years, training delegations who take local youth to international programs. She participated in the projetcs with the 19 IPP volunteers, living with them on a local campus.

“Jacksonville is such a diverse and intercultural place as it is, with all the work resettling refugees in the city so what is great about IPP is the opportunity to learn conflict resolution skills you can carry with you into your community,” said Donelan, who grew up in San Marco and is now a Springfield resident.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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