Page 77 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
SEPTEMBER 2013
77
AFSA NEWS
AFSA EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE AWARDS : THE AV I S BOHLEN AWARD
FOR A FORE IGN SERV ICE FAMI LY MEMBER
Leah Evans’Website Brings a Community Together
“Kids in Kyiv,” a members-
only website geared to
expatriate Americans in
Ukraine, is the brainchild
of Leah Evans, this year’s
winner of the Avis Bohlen
Award. The award honors
the accomplishments of a
family member of a Foreign
Service employee whose
relations with the American
and foreign communities at
post have done the most to
advance the interests of the
United States. Leah’s work
with the website and the
connections and sense of
community it has spawned
exemplifes this ideal.
“I started ‘Kids in Kyiv’
for selfsh reasons. After I
arrived at post, I had a dif-
fcult time fnding friends for
my children and me. As Kyiv
had so much to ofer fami-
lies, I wanted to bring them
together on a regular basis,”
Leah explained.
At present, more than 150
families have joined the site.
Together, the group organizes
events, creates newslet-
ters and discusses topics of
interest online. Leah’s close
working relationship with
Embassy Kyiv provides the
site’s members with informa-
tion from the community liai-
son o ce, regional security
o ce and health unit.
A good organizer is suc-
cessful when others become
involved. By that standard,
Leah’s success is mea-
sured by the tributes she
gives others. “The co-CLOs,
Samantha Partlow and Tom
Prall, have been incredibly
helpful in making ‘Kids in
Kyiv’ a success,” said Leah.
“A social networking site by
defnition has many people
involved. Tiana Page, Jelena
Cali and Krsztine Meyer have
been integral members of the
group, as well as Laura Peer,
Heather Fabrikant and Enri
Fort.”
Each month, Leah plans
events that bring people
together and create bonds
between Americans and
their host country neighbors.
People reach out to local
orphanages, share their
expertise with others and
organize activities. The group
recently won a J. Kirby Simon
grant for $2,200 to install a
fre safety system, new dryer
and refrigerator in a local
orphanage.
When asked what the
award means to her, Leah
replied: “The award shows
that AFSA cares about the
eforts of Foreign Service
family members. Having
given up a career to follow
my husband, it is nice to
realize that I can fnd new
goals and dreams, that I can
contribute to my community
and that I can be recognized
for my eforts. I am honored
by this award.”
n
Leah Evans (left) receives the Avis Bohlen Award from Dr. Mette Beecroft
during AFSA’s annual awards ceremony. Leah created a members-only
website in Kyiv, which has resulted in an engaged and happy community.
SUPPORT THE AFSA
SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Many of our members are surprised to learn that
their AFSA membership dues do not support the
AFSA scholarship program. Therefore, each year we
appeal to you, our members, to consider a gift to this
very important program. Our annual appeal was sent
out in late August, encouraging donors to continue
to allow as many as 90 AFSA members’ children to
receive more than $230,000 in college assistance
this year.
Please return the reply card that was mailed to
you during our appeal or consider making a secure
online donation at
www.afsa.org/donate.