Description of Service
Eric Schempp - Western Russia
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After a competitive application process stressing applicant skills, adaptability and cross-cultural understanding, Eric Schempp was invited into Peace Corps service. He was assigned as a Business Volunteer.
Mr. Schempp entered training on August 31, 1999, and participated in an intensive ten-week program in Zelenograd, Russia. Language training included 4 hours of Russian a day and living with a Russian host family for two months.
Mr. Schempp successfully completed training and was sworn in as a Volunteer on November 4th, 1999. He was assigned to teach English at secondary school #3 in the small town of Lodeynoye Pole, a few hours north of St. Petersburg. He worked for the ministry of education and taught English to students of the 8th, 10th, and 11th Forms.
Mr. Schempp was in charge of all aspects of teaching including managing a classroom, teaching the mandatory curriculum at the appropriate levels, and reporting to superiors. He taught 14 hours of English a week and held two extra-curricular English clubs for students who excelled in English. His duties included development of curriculum, daily lesson planning, constructing and administering exams, and evaluating students. Furthermore, Mr. Schempp tutored the administration of school #3 two nights a week for an hour a night. He not only helped to improve the English skills of faculty, but was treated as an equal among colleagues as well.
Mr. Schempp was heavily involved in community of Lodeynoye Pole. He attended all functions at the school, including after school dances, concerts, and holiday celebrations put on by children. He organized an adult English Club that met on a weekly basis for one hour to develop the English skills of interested adults in the community. During the summer months, He assisted volunteers at a local English camp. He constantly sought out a way to be involved in the community.
Mr. Schempp not only helped the community of Lodeynoye Pole, but the nearby village of Svir Stroi as well. He was introduced to an orphanage in this small village and by his own initiative began traveling there to volunteer time. Before long, he was spending three days a week at the orphanage and teaching children English. This was with the help of a Director’s Fund Grant that he wrote and received from Peace Corps. The grant was for $435 and allowed him to buy supplies and materials and introduce English instruction into the orphanage.
Through his involvement with the Svir Stroi Orphanage, Mr. Schempp came in touch with many organizations that work with orphanages. It was through one such organization, Miramed, that Mr. Schempp became aware of an orphanage where he could devote 100% of his time and make better use of his business skills. He decided, with the support of Peace Corps, to make this his primary site.
On August 4th 2000, Mr. Schempp moved to Uglich. He quickly became involved in the orphanage and various projects. The first project was initiated and vacated by a previous volunteer. It was a pig farm. The idea was to establish a small business in which the children could learn the fundamentals of business, how pigs are raised and develop responsibility at the same time. Mr. Schempp, with the help of the vacating volunteer, wrote a business plan and made it available on the Internet at http://uglichfarm.tripod.com. He consulted many people, gave lectures, and involved many organizations including DarGift Charities and Miramed. Through word of mouth, meetings, and the web page, Mr. Schempp was able to raise over $6,000. Despite the efforts, the money was not enough to start the farm. The money was instead donated to help start another program called Miramed Independent Living and Social Adaptation Center for orphan graduates.
The second project Mr. Schempp helped to develop was a sewing studio for the orphanage. The purpose of the project was to create a program to give girls of the Uglich orphanage a chance to learn skills that would later benefit them in life. It needed to be set up in such a way where it would be a small self-sustained business that would last for years to come. To do this Mr. Schempp received and administered two grants. One was Small Project Assistance (SPA) grant for $3,500 and the second was $1,500 from a Peace Corps Partnership Grant. As a result of these grants, a building was renovated, supplies and equipment purchased, and a staff hired. The small business was established and products were made. The products were then sold to tourists at the Uglich Orphanage Tourist Booth as they walk by on their way to the local tourist attraction; The Kremlin. Other organizations such as Volga River Traders bought the products and took them overseas to America.
Children from the sewing program participated in a program called Junior Achievement and on Dec. 11th, 2000, went to a regional competition in Moscow. At the competition they took second place.
Mr. Schempp extensively promoted Peace Corps. He went to three different institutions and talked about the benefits of have a Peace Corps Volunteer. All three agreed to host and received volunteers.
Mr. Schempp was also heavily involved in the community. He re-established an English Club that had been discontinued. The club met every Friday for one hour. In September 2000, he was interviewed by the local radio about his endeavors.
Mr. Schempp also participated in a play put on by another volunteer. He not only helped to layout, develop, and advertise the play, but acted in it as well. The play was titled “I remember Mama” and lasted just over two hours. There were twelve Russian and three Americans in the play. The play was performed at the local Palace of Culture and over 100 people came to the performance.
Mr. Schempp traveled extensively to give guest lectures on the business he was establishing as well as other business practices. He lectured on budgets, business plans, and entrepreneurship, and helped with English Clubs in Rostov on the Don the second week of November 2000. He then again traveled to Rostov on the Don on the 16th, 17th, and 18th of April to participate in a conference put on by another Peace Corps Volunteer. Furthermore, he developed a 10-week course for MUBINT University in Yaraslovl, Russia and lectured on the basic fundamental aspects of marketing, business practices, customer service, interviewing, and resumes in December and January of 2000 and 2001.
Mr. Schempp assisted a family in America trying to locate a sibling of an adopted child currently residing in America. He was successful. On December 21st, Mr. Schempp traveled to the remote village of Arefino to meet with the child, take pictures, and report back to the family in America. The family agreed to adopt the child. Mr. Schempp recommended an adoption agency and connected the family with the agency. He not only acted as the catalyst to the adoption but as a facilitator as well. In February of 2000, Mr. Schempp was able to locate the third final sibling of the family in another small town of Govarilov Yam. He again went to visit the child, take pictures and report to America. Although issues such as diseases and mental retardation are standing in the way, efforts are currently being made to bring the entire family together.
Mr. Schempp’s language skills really developed after two years of living in Russia, studying Russian language, and tutoring 3-4 hours a week. On April 5th, Mr. Schempp received intermediate high on his language proficiency test.
Pursuant to section 5(f) of the Peace Corps Act, 22 USC 2504(f ), as amended, any former Volunteer employed by the United States Government following his Peace Corps Volunteer service is entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps service credited for purposes of retirement, seniority, reduction in force, leave, and other privileges based on length of Government service.
This is to certify in accordance with Executive Order 11103 of April
10, 1963, that Mr. Eric Schempp served successfully as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
His service ended on July 2, 2001. His benefits under the Executive
Order extend for a period of one year after termination of Volunteer service,
except that the employing agency may extend the period for up to three
years for a former Volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies
at a recognized institution of higher learning, or engages in other activities
that, in the view of the appointing agency, warrant extension of the period.