Tag Archives: donate

Grand Finale of 30 Days of Trains!

22 Feb

Cue fireworks.

Can you believe we finished the 30 Days of Trains! Blogging Challenge?  Me either.

Read a recap about guest bloggers, page visits and money raised here: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/day-28/

I plan to keep writing about the Train Station Community Center project on my blog to keep people updated, I just won’t be doing daily entries.

While 30 Days of Trains! is complete, my fund raising goal is not.  We still need to raise $765 more dollars in order to close out the grant, get to work on the train station, and for me to have access to the list of all the kind souls who donated.

What does this mean?  I can only assume that every single person I’ve ever met between my birth and age 24 has already made a donation to the project because of all of the requests I made. So, most likely the remaining donations will need to come from people I don’t know.

Can you help me out?  Spread the word to people who you think would be interested in the project!

And to really go out with style and a bang tell them that if they make donations today or tomorrow (February 22 or 23, 2013):

-With a donation of $30 dollars or more to the Train Station Community Center in Paraguari, Paraguay you will receive a personalized Thank You video from the Conductors of Culture team that your donation is supporting

-With a donation of $130 dollars or more to the Train Station Community Center in Paraguari, Paraguay we will send you a LIMITED EDITION Conductors of Culture t-shirt to the United States.  The very t-shirt that the team will wear while inspiring Paraguayan youth and working at the train station.  We’ll even send you a picture of us in our t-shirts so that you can Photoshop yourself into the picture.

As always, don’t forget that donations are tax-deductible!

To be eligible for these promotions you MUST donate today or tomorrow.  Please also forward me your “donation received” confirmation email from Peace Corps to mollymreddy [at] gmail.com

Now, go tell your friends and everyone else you know!

Thanks for following along. Oh, and HAPPY 30 DAYS OF TRAINS!





Day 28

20 Feb

Of 30 Days of Trains! that is…Can you believe it?  We’re almost done.

All of these shenanigans started on January 24th.

Since then we’ve received over $2,000 dollars in donations and have only $765 dollars left to go in order to close out the grant and get to work on the Train Station Community Center in Paraguari, Paraguay!

Since 30 Days of Trains! started we’ve received 955 page views and have had visitors from 35 countries learn about the project.



We’ve had guest blogs from:
-Pablo Zulaica Parra, A Spaniard currently living in Mexico who biked the distance of the Paraguayan rails: Biking the Distance
-Elizabeth Escobar, a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Paraguay who worked on a similar train station project during her service: Notes from the Field
-Greg Henschen, a lifelong train enthusiast and model railroader: Model Railroading
-St. John Barned-Smith, a writer for the Gazette and another returned volunteer who has researched and written stories about the trains and their history in Paraguay: Like a Big Party
-Gabrielle McNichol, a current high school student and aspiring Peace Corps volunteer organizing a project to collect supplies for the train station at her school: Generosity
-Brittany Boroian, a fellow Peace Corps volunteer, friend, blogger, train lover and supporter of this project: How Have Trains Impacted Your Life?

My friend Evelyn designed a Valentine’s Day card in honor of the train station, my friend Carly helped me record our version of Train Song, and my friend Stephanie made these blogs possible by lending me her computer for the entirety of her vacation!

To top it all off friends, family, fellow volunteers, past co-workers and people I’ve never even met have been supporting this project, cheering me on, and making donations.  And that means a lot.

With much love and gratitude, I promise that I’ll stop maxing out your inboxes, Facebook feeds, Google Readers, etc. in two more days,


View outside of the train station at night.

View outside of the train station at night.

The Importance of Public Spaces

17 Feb

“That’s why we’re still here, because we found the common.”

Soul Pancake has certainly been tugging on my heart strings and making me smile lately.

And they did it again with this video about a public adult ball pit– Take a Seat, Make a Friend:

Why are public spaces [ball pits] important?

Because I think we over think actions for peace.

On Sunday, when you’re planning your week, if someone asked you, “Do you have time to dedicate this week to a significant action for peace?” How would you respond?

You scan your agenda.  Your list of activities on Monday is already so long they’ve outgrown their box and overflowed into Tuesday.  I’ll never check my way through that entire list, you think.

“Hmmm, this week’s going to be tight…and I can’t say that next week will be much better.”

What if they had pitched the question, “Could you squeeze in five minutes to sit in a ball pit with someone you don’t know this week?”

Now remember, I didn’t say do you have significant time?  I said do you have time for a significant action?

After cutting through a number of responses that sound something like this, “No way! You do know that ball pits are a cesspool of germs, right?  It’s basically the equivalent of a hot tub at Arby’s that’s never been cleaned once and was filled the first time with garbage water siphoned out of the local sewer.”

You might eventually get a, “Yeah, you know, I loved ball pits as a kid.  I think I could squeeze that in, but I don’t know about this whole actions for peace thing, Molly.”

And that’s where I’d have to say, “Just trust me. But, also watch the video.”

Something magical happens when we’re forced to bump into people that we wouldn’t normally bump into– we find common ground.  There’s often a lack of peace and a lack of understanding when we stop bumping into people who are different than us, when we don’t have places like playgrounds and plazas and parks and ball pits and museums and community centers to bump into each other at.

So, in my book, an action for peace can be many things large or small, but it is certainly one that makes someone else smile, finds the common, or makes someone think, “Hey, you’re not so bad after all.”

There are lots of things we can do: open the door for someone with a smile, sit in a ball pit with a stranger, or sit in a train station community center with neighbors you’ve never taken the time to talk to before.

So, what is your agenda looking like this week? My agenda has a meeting with an awesome public spaces initiative in Asuncion called Puerto Abierto (Open Port), who would like to support bringing their concept to Paraguari and the train station!

Why not start today?

Lots of actions for peace are free, but sometimes they need monetary support, too.  Donate today! https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009


How Exactly Do Steam Trains Work?

15 Feb

I wasn’t sure of the specifics of making a steam train run besides, well, the steam.  And a burning fire!  I knew that was part of it, too.

I visited Howstuffworks.com to gain some insight.



Visit the website to see animated graphics and for further information.

I think my favorite tidbit was the explanation of the choo-choo sound: When the valve opens the cylinder to release its steam exhaust, the steam escapes under a great deal of pressure and makes a “choo!” sound as it exits. When the train is first starting, the piston is moving very slowly, but then as the train starts rolling the piston gains speed. The effect of this is the “Choo….. choo…. choo… choo choo-choo-choo” that we hear when it starts moving.

Get moving on making a donation to the Train Station Community Center because 30 Days of Trains! is slowly winding down.

10 for 10!

2 Feb

It’s the 10th day of 30 Days of Trains! Can you believe it?

To celebrate the milestone I’m requesting that 10 people share this project with 10 people they know who would have an interest in learning more.  Let me know that you’re one of the 10 by leaving a comment on this post.

Late to the game?
Read the first post about the project here: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/help-molly-help-paraguay/
First day of 30 Days of Trains!: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/30-days-of-trains/
More information about Conductors (a specific program the grant will support): https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/conductors-of-culture/
A great post explaining the history intertwined with the train stations: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/biking-the-distance/

10 for 10! Help me reach my goal by sending an email like this:

Hi! My friend/sibling/niece/etc. is currently a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in the South American country of Paraguay.  Her small town is remodeling the old train station into a community and cultural center, as currently there isn’t one.  Supporting the train station will provide a key learning and social space for children and young people, a meeting place and institution of historical preservation for adults, and a tourist attraction for visitors!  The majority of the grant funds will be used to train youth as cultural guides at the train station in order to help develop it’s potential as a community space.  Youth will be paired with mentors and complete six months of weekly service in the train station to provide programming and events for the community.  This program is being run with local partners to ensure future sustainability of the project.

Help Molly reach her goal and be part of her story! You can follow along on her blog here: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/

She’ll happily answer any questions you may have.  Let me know if you’d like me to put y’all in contact.


Other ways you can help:
-DONATE! 🙂 https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009
-Post about it on Facebook
-Leave comments on the blog entries
-“Like” my Facebook posts with my blog entries so that they appear in more people’s Newsfeeds
-Send me ideas/feedback/suggestions
-Do a quarter “drive” at work
-Have a school group or some other group that loves competition, do a penny war!
-Make a donation in honor of your valentine.  Nothing says love like a restored train station in the “heart of South America” (Paraguay’s nickname)

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