History and Accomplishments
Doostane Farsi Zabane Man was started by Amy Katuska, the current program director. Amy, who is concentrating in Middle Eastern Studies at Hampshire College, is particularly interested in Iran and has been hopeful that the United States and Iran will find common ground. Not having seen this happen yet, Amy was discouraged and frustrated, particularly with the enormous amount of cultural misunderstandings. A renewed friendship with Iran could be very beneficial for the United States, and the United States can offer much in return. Amy realized that the need for understanding between the two nations and their citizens is clearly great.
In June 2010, Amy came up with the idea of having an Iranian-American pen pal program. This opens up new lines of communication between students who may otherwise have had no way to contact each other. She started testing the waters and recruiting volunteers, who help with creating and maintaining a website, graphic design, and social media, among other tasks.
- Do Something Seed Grant-In late October of 2010, My Persian-Speaking Friends received a $500 seed grant from Do Something. This grant has been enormously helpful in helping us get off the ground.
- Half Full’s Bucket Dump-Every year, Half Full gives away 80 hours of their services to a deserving group. While we did not win the 80 hours of service, we are being given a one hour phone consultation to discuss our marketing and communications plan and full access to their network, resources, and tools.
- Project PeacePal-Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Project PeacePal is an international peace through education organization connecting U.S. students with other youth around the world via a pen pal program. They also facilitate youth-driven service learning projects. Project PeacePal and My Persian-Speaking Friends are potentially going to collaborate on future initiatives.