Volunteer: Haven Allen
Currently, I am serving in the Peace Corps as a Community Economic Development Volunteer Consultant in Panama. My focus in Panama is on strengthening the management and leadership capacity of rural cooperatives, local organizations and youth to increase job and economic opportunities. In addition, I have been afforded the opportunity to fully integrate myself in a new culture while having a foreign language permanently ingrained into my vernacular. Furthermore, in January, I was elected President of the Volunteer Advisory Council, which acts as a network for facilitating open communication between and among all Volunteers and staff by providing solutions-oriented feedback, personal and professional support and motivation and the sharing of promising practices in order to achieve the goals of Peace Corps in Panama. This position has also provided me the opportunity to be the advocate of Peace Corps Panama Volunteers to the United States Embassy. As such, I am responsible for developing the Experience Exchange Program and working with the Community Liaison Office to find mutually benefitting ways the Peace Corps and the embassy can work together.
Prior to my departure for service, I founded a production company named Allen Entertainment Management (also known as A.E.M.). For over five years, A.E.M. produced distinctly unique events that catered to young adults’ entertainment desires while also providing an opportunity for our corporate clients’ direct marketing needs. Client acquisitions include Pepsi, Chevy, Clear Channel, Brown-Forman and the Tribune Company. One of my events in particular, the New Year’s Eve Gala at Navy Pier, was ranked one of the top ten places in the world to celebrate the New Year by USA Today and was televised worldwide on CNN. Through each event that A.E.M. produced there was always a benefitting charity that received notoriety for their mission as well as a monetary donation.
The freedom of owning a business has fulfilled my desire and provided me the liberty to participate in a significant amount of volunteer work. Most notably, I was a Junior Board Member of the Metropolitan Family Services (MFS), which I still serve as a proxy member while in Panama. Metropolitan Family Services is an organization that for over the past 150 years has focused on the needs of families throughout the Chicagoland area with programs including: child and youth development, counseling, economic stability, legal aid, mental health, parent development, violence prevention and intervention and older adult services. As a board member, I assisted in fund raising and marketing of the organization’s programs. In addition, to my work with MFS, I also volunteered with Chicago Cares as a U.S. Citizenship test tutor for Spanish-speaking individuals. Similarly, over the course of the past eight years, I have volunteered or worked on presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial, congressional and mayoral campaigns.Upon my return from the Peace Corps, I first plan to marry my long-time girlfriend and current fiancée on August 13th. Subsequently, I aspire to obtain a Master’s of Public Policy with a concentration in economic deveolpment from a top-ranked institution. Topics that I desire to research include, but are not limited to: : international trade theory, U.S. tax policy (specifically National Sales Tax versus Income Tax) and macroeconomic development policies. While attending graduate school, I plan to enlist in the National Guard as an Officer with a military service obligation as an Intelligence Analyst. In addition, I recently passed the Foreign Service Office test as a Political Advisor and will continue to work through the application process with the State Department. After completing my graduate degree I plan to continually advocate for sound economic policies that promote future wealth and prosperity in order to advance the general United States populace towards a flourishing 21st century. Beyond Peace Corps and the National Guard, my future service to the United States of American will be dependent upon the capacity I am deemed worthy of by the people.
Contributions from Haven Allen
The little kid next to me ate more coconut then anyone I have ever seen. He at least took down two and a half all by himself. And sense coconut meat and milk are natural laxatives....
Two Ngobe-Bugle children at play.
During a Project, Management and Leadership charla in a fellow PCV's site we decided to do a dinamica called "Walking In Someone Else Shoes." Each person takes off one shoe and puts it in a big bag and after everyone has done so, each participant takes a shoe out of the bag without looking and puts that shoe on. And then we all walk around in our new shoe. After a while we stop and ask everyone to comment on the exercise. And the thing that always comes out of it is that we all ...
I had the absolutely privilege of being Santo Claus in the 2009 Desfile de Navidad en Puerto Armuelles, Chiriqui. This event is perhaps one of the biggest throughout the year. For over a mile stretch the float threw out cookies and candies and children were constantly brought up to sit on my lap for a photo. "Santo Santo dame galletas!"
This was perhaps the most surreal moment so far during my service and it happened at one of my good friend Scott Page's site in Embarcadero, Cocle. A group of 6 PCVs headed up to Embarcadero to build a water en-catchment system that would provide water year around and also install the first shower in the community. Upon arriving in the community in the local representante truck stuffed with supplies and PCVs we were greeted by all the community members rushing out to get a good look at the o...
During tech week in Hato Chami de la Comarca Ngobe-Bugle, a group of 5 volunteers set out each morning at 4:30 AM to hike the local summits. On one of our many sunrise morning hikes we were accompanied by a local inhabitant and his horse. Upon reaching the top our guide was insistent upon two things; one, taking a pictures with "El Gigante" (which is me) and having his current tenant ride the horse back into the village.
On April 19, 2010, 15 Peace Corps volunteers accompanied 6 teenagers from my community, Puerto Armuelles, on a hike of Volcan Baru. At 11,339 feet, this volcano towers above all other mountains in Panama and provides a unique view of both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. This picture is from the start of our hike at 11:00 pm. After 7 grueling hours of Level E hiking we made it to the top just before sunrise where were were treated to clear sky towards both seas and a violent thundersto...