February 24, 2003 - Northern Alaska Peace Corps Friends: Tony Gasbarro served in the Dominican Republic

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: Peace Corps Dominican Republic : The Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic: February 24, 2003 - Northern Alaska Peace Corps Friends: Tony Gasbarro served in the Dominican Republic

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 1:57 pm: Edit Post

Tony Gasbarro served in the Dominican Republic

Tony Gasbarro served in the Dominican Republic

Tony Gasbarro served in the Dominican Republic from 1962 through 1964 and in El Salvador from 1996 through 1998.

Why did you want to join the Peace Corps?

When I graduated from Colorado State University in 1962 the Peace Corps was a new idea. It was just beginning and I was caught up in the excitement of the new program. I joined because I saw the Peace Corps as an adventure and because I thought that I should try to help to make this world a better place to live. When I retired from the University the same spirit of adventure was still there but more dominating was the feeling that with my 35 years experience in the broad fields of land management and forestry I could really make a contribution. And there was something else. I had a strong feeling that going into the Peace Corps would bring out other latent abilities that I had which I had heretofore not used.

What did you do while you were a Peace Corps volunteer?

As a volunteer in the Dominican Republic I was assigned to a forest district of the Dominican Forest Service in the western part of the country. My job was to work with the District Ranger who was my counterpart in dealing with the forestry problems of the district. I was involved in training Dominican foresters in fire control, timber sale preparation, logging road location, and forest measurements. I also did some teaching of English.

As a volunteer in El Salvador I was assigned to a non-profit organization called the Association of Human Development (ADHU). This organization was working with a small village, La Montañona that owned about 800 acres of pine forest. My job was to help the members of the community implement a forest management plan and develop a small timber harvesting program so community members could earn some income. I also became involved in environmental education at the local school and helped develop a public relations program for tourists that visited the area.

What are you doing now?

Both experiences were life changing for me. Sharing two years of my life with the poor in La Montañona inspired me to continue working for the poor in El Salvador. I can afford to this since I am retired. I return to El Salvador twice each year to work on various projects. I continue to work with ADHU on projects the organization has related to the environment, scholarship programs and the construction of new communities after the two Salvadoran earthquakes of 2001. I am also a board member of Project Salvador, a non-profit headquartered in Denver, Colorado. This organization funds small community development projects mostly dealing with the empowerment of women and youth. I help coordinate the purchase of crafts from 200 Salvadoran artisans. These crafts are sold in the United States mostly in the Denver area. From these sales we return about $60,000 each year to the artisans. I raise about $10,000 each year through letter writing and presentations to support a scholarship program that helps about 70 kids get though elementary and secondary schools in the country.

I still spend most of my time in Alaska and do volunteer teaching both at the University and High School level. I also teach environmental education and am on the Board of Supervisors of the Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District.

Some photos from Dominican Republic and El Salvador

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Last modified: Tuesday October 01, 2002

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Story Source: Northern Alaska Peace Corps Friends

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Dominican Republic



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