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he Community Service Program Embassy La Paz recently
completed a long-term refurbishing of the Family Brigade
at the San Pedro, La Paz police station. The facility serves
as a safe location for victims of domestic violence in the San
Pedro area, home to thousands of households.
In February 2011, the Family Brigade took over a three-room
office space in dire condition. There were loose floor boards,
rat holes in the floors, doors that did not close, thin window
panes that did not allow for privacy or warmth, walls full of holes
and old paint, and wires hanging from the ceiling where light
fixtures should have been. Furniture amounted to two old desks,
a few chairs and two bunk beds.
The unappealing condition of the location preventedwomen
and children in need from seeking refuge there. After visiting
the site and seeing firsthand the severe state of dilapidation, the
CSP applied for and received a $3,000 grant from the J. Kirby
Simon Foundation.
Beginning in July, and workingmost weekends through Sep-
tember, more than 50 members of the embassy community —
including locally engaged staff, interns, direct hires and family
members—completely renovated the space. The crews cleaned,
patched and painted walls; covered floors with plywood sub-
floors and new carpeting and installed baseboards; added elec-
trical outlets and light fixtures; and built new doors with privacy
window panes to help keep out the cold. Donations of furni-
ture, supplies and support from the embassy’s Military Group
and the Peace Corps completed the transformation.
OnOct. 5, a teamof CSP volunteers andMilGroup represen-
tatives attended the Family Brigade’s ribbon-cutting ceremony
and blessing of the space, hosted by the Bolivian police. After
speeches from the police commander and embassy representa-
tives, awards were bestowed on the head of the Family Brigade
and several volunteers. The police band played several local songs,
while everyone enjoyed celebrating a job well done.
Now the women and children of San Pedro have a safe spac
to go for support and a place to stay in emergencies. The police-
women staffing the facility have a safe, warm space in which to
work; and much stronger bonds have been created among our
embassy, the Bolivian police and the people of San Pedro.
FSO Erin Sweeney is a member of the Community Service Program a
Embassy La Paz. For more on the J. Kirby Simon Trust see
F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2
n accordance withAFSA bylaws,AFSA has increased dues for
2012 by 2 percent for all individual membership categories to
allow the association to meet the costs of our deepened serv-
ices and expanded advocacy efforts. AFSA continues to keep
rates as low as possible, and has not adjusted dues since January
2009. The increase is 1.6 percent less than the 3rd quarter Con-
sumer Price Index published by the Department of Labor and
used by the Social Security Administration to calculate the 2012
Cost of Living Adjustment increases.
This modest adjustment, which translates on average into 3
cents per week per member, better positions AFSA to serve our
members and advance member priorities. This is a critical time
for AFSA to strengthen our legislative and advocacy capacity so
that we continue to make our views heard in Congress on suc
vital matters as OCP and federal benefits. We will also invest in
new technologies that will allow us to better serve and under-
stand the unique needs of our members.
Active-duty and retiredmembers paying dues via payroll an
annuity deduction will see an automatic increase in the amount
deducted from their paychecks and annuities. Those paying an-
nually will be billed the new rate on their regularly scheduled re-
newal date.
To view the new dues rates please visit our website a an
d click on you
membership category: active-duty, retired or associate. Thank
you for your membership in AFSA.
A J. Kirby Simon Trust Grant
Helps to Rebuild Hope in La Paz
2012 AFSA Dues Rates
(Clockwise, top left) Community Service Program volunteers Jeff Sprag-
gins, DAO; Olivia Mozdzierz, family member; Jessica Hartman, FSO; and (
to r) Claudio Castillo, Milgroup; Rebecca Graham, FSO; Kate Flachsbart,
FSO; Jeff Spraggins; Erin Sweeney, FSO; and Keith Akins, family member,
refurbishing police station in La Paz.