M-F Peace Corps volunteer focuses on camera drive 3-31-13

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Ruby Mitchell sent an appeal from 6,914.79 miles away in Jordan to Walla Walla Valley community organizations and individuals. She has organized a camera drive to give photography workshops in Jordan.

The Milton-Freewater native started her 11/2-year assignment there with the Peace Corps in October 2011. Officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, its population in 1995 was estimated at 4,101,000.

Its 37,737 square miles is in southwest Asia, bordered to the west by Israel, to the north by Syria, to the northeast by Iraq, and east and south by Saudi Arabia. Its capitol and largest city is Amman.

Her parents, John and Jean Ann Mitchell live in Milton-Freewater, where she graduated in 2005 from McLoughlin High School.

To support her daughter’s efforts, Jean Ann said, “I will come and get any (gently used) cameras, film, batteries and camera memory cards people may want to contribute.” She will send Ruby what she’s collected on April 15.

Ruby enjoyed growing up and attending schools in Milton-Freewater. “Great teachers here prepared her to gain a scholarship to Warner Pacific College (in Portland),” Jean Ann said.

Ruby earned a bachelor’s in cross-cultural ministries in 2009 and received the President’s Award by exemplifying the motto “where faith and scholarship lead to service.”

During a semester study abroad in Egypt Ruby gained some Arabic and cultural awareness. After an internship in camp and conference program management she applied to the Peace Corps.

Seventy-four percent of Jordan’s population is younger than 30 and the progressive government welcomes the opportunity to bring its young people into the 21st century, Jean Ann said.

“Government youth and community development centers dot the map and Ruby participates, organizes and leads many of the programs offered at her center, and sometimes at other centers.”

“I work at a non-profit community development center in a small town where life is as different and as beautiful as you would expect,” Ruby wrote in a letter. Through her efforts, she encourages growth and skill development and increased awareness of other cultures in the young adults she works with.

“A large desire and need that has been expressed during the time that I’ve been here is for increased knowledge on technology and creative expression. The 21st century demands that young adults are capable of communicating creatively through digital means, and the interest to do so is high.

“Therefore, myself and two other Peace Corps volunteers (also focused on youth development, but at their own respective centers) have been collaborating on designing a photography workshop that will be implemented in all three of our sites this spring.”

They hope to give participants a broader opportunity to practice and use the skills that they will learn by acquiring approximately 15 cameras, five per center.

“Having these cameras available after the initial workshop will allow for projects that can highlight different elements of photography as well as specific topics such as elements of Jordanian culture, the environment, current events, etc.”

If packages are sent directly to the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development, Princess Basma Center, Jerash Quyrawan Office, Jerash 26111, JORDAN, there will be no customs fees as it is a non-profit organization.

Ruby can answer questions at mitchell.ruby@gmail.com. See also her blog at ilbintfiiurdunn.wordpress.com. To reach Jean Ann, email jjmitchell@centurylink.net .


Walla Walla High School won three awards when Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication announced the winners of the 2013 Murrow High School Journalism contest on March 22, according to their adviser, Gay Buissink.

Junior Bryson Gobel and sophomore Hannah Mitchell’s article “Allocation: Where does the money go and why?” received third place in the Best News Writing category.

“The process was long, and it took a lot of organization and coordination to complete the article, but seeing all the work brought together was worth it and extremely rewarding,” Bryson said.

The writers explained the process of ASB allocations. “It was a lot of work, and it required missing a lot of sixth period, but it was a lot of fun. I think that the ASB class really appreciated our effort,” Hannah added.

The Wa-Hi Journal received third place in the Best Website category.

“My goal as Editor-in-Chief this year was to improve the website and receive an award,” said Quinn Anderson, online editor-in chief. “This is an honor that I am ecstatic to receive. It is nice to know that the hard work of my staff has paid off.”

The Wa-Hi Journal submitted print editions, articles and the URL of its website to the contest, which is open to high school journalism programs in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska.


The Walla Walla County Conservation District-sponsored Fourth-Grade Foresters Program in area elementary schools will take place April 10, on Arbor Day, said Marguerite Daltoso with the WWCCD.

More than 600 trees will mean one sapling for each fourth-grader enrolled at Berney, Blue Ridge, Prospect Point, Edison, Green Park, Sharpstein, Dixie, Assumption Catholic, Rogers Adventist and Touchet Elementary schools to take home and plant.

Adults with disabilities individually packaged the evergreen trees in workshops through the Fourth Grade Forester Program.

Organizations like the WWCCD cover the cost of the trees, so there is no expense for the students, teachers or schools, Marguerite said. Trees benefit the environment by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and helping clean the air we breathe and are an inexpensive way to help beautify and improve the community.

“We are looking forward to supporting this great project and to hear how the students and their parents enjoy planting their own tree, taking care of it and watching it grow.”

She said their motto is “Leave a Legacy, Plant a Tree. As a result, the youngsters become members of the Fourth-Grade Foresters Program of the state of Washington.”


Rashell Lewis and Debra Carter will participate in a special event honoring their mother, Dolores Sheard, at 5 p.m. Monday at the Athena Public Library, 418 Main St. All are welcome to drop by any time from 2-6 p.m. for refreshments.

Family and friends bought and donated a collection of novels for young adults to the library in Dolores’ memory.

The lifelong city resident and 1944 graduate of Athena High School served the community as librarian for more than 20 years, from November 1977-June 1998, said Janet Mandaville in an email.

She had autographed the carpet of the old library in 2007 just prior to its demolition to make way for the new library building that opened in July 2008.

The presentation in her memory will round off the afternoon’s open house hosted by the Athena Library Advisory Board. Library cards and building tours will also be available.

For more details, contact 541-566-2470 or online see bit.ly/XkplWi or on Facebook.

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