TPRF volunteer Michel Klamph is passionate about helping people and working harmoniously in a team environment to achieve humanistic goals. Michel brings a rich and varied experience of thirty-five years in social work to her current position as the International Peace Education Program (PEP) Communications Manager.
TPRF: Please tell us a little about your experience as a social worker.
MK : I have worked in a number of settings including corporations, colleges, government, hospitals, and correctional facilities. My career focused mostly on helping people who face difficult challenges to reach their potential. In the process of developing programs to help these people, I had the opportunity to work with volunteers who inspired me with their dedication. In the back of my mind, I always wanted to volunteer to help people. That opportunity came two years ago when I began working with Sherry Weinstein, the PEP Director, and people around the world, to organize and implement the various resources required to support volunteer teams initiating Peace Education Programs in their communities.
TPRF: Give us an idea of the kind of support available to local PEP volunteer teams.
MK : We now have several support teams of two or more people to provide a variety of support services. There is the communications team, which works with the operations team, materials team, and email response team. There are also other teams supporting PEP, such as the logistics, coaching, and briefing teams to help volunteers set up and facilitate programs. I helped Sherry handle some of these functions before the different support teams came together. We’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time. I really believe in teamwork. I like supporting teams because when individuals form a team they can accomplish so much more.
TPRF: What are your specific duties as the International Communications Manager?
MK : I organize a monthly conference call for the PEP volunteers around the world on the second Saturday of each month. We usually talk about establishing and facilitating PEP programs in all of the different communities. We also discuss the PEP in different settings, like retirement homes, hospices, hospitals, colleges, and correctional facilities. The program is really mushrooming.
TPRF: What do you mean by “mushrooming”?
MK : I mean expanding rapidly. For example, in October 2013, 13,391 people attended 417 workshops in 103 facilities worldwide. In addition, requests for PEP from correctional facilities, colleges, hospitals and other institutions are increasing rapidly.
To support this growth, the translation teams are producing materials in more languages. The interest is growing as more people want to deliver PEP in their communities. We also support teams that have had no prior contact with TPRF or Prem Rawat’s message of peace and are now interested in establishing and facilitating PEP workshops. When you add all that up, we’re talking about a lot of growth.
TPRF: What else can you share with us?
MK : I facilitate a PEP class at the Maplehurst Correctional Facility located an hour outside of Toronto where I live. The class is held in the Vanier Center for Women. Facilitating this class has really given me a perspective on the administrative and communications work I’ve done. The class allows me to see in person the end result of the entire PEP effort.
I watch people having such individual experiences in class. The students have a chance to reflect on their lives while listening to and feeling Prem Rawat’s powerful message of peace. The message is presented in such an approachable, human manner. It changes lives. The experience is touching, humbling, and overwhelming. I feel like a surfer who has caught a big wave. I am very privileged to play my part.