I, Alice Vedova, care deeply about the American Friends Service Committee. I grew up with it and I was exposed to the power of love at an early age. My Dad applied to the Service Committee to participate in the Friends Reconstruction Unit in 1918. So our family was there from the very beginning.
Our house was particularly active in the years leading up to WWII. Dad was helping desperate German refugees find housing. Mother would attend to refugees who needed medical attention. We were all doing small things – packing up clothing for distribution, writing thank you notes for donations. The Service Committee was part of family life.
As you might imagine, most of the war refugees could not speak English. There were people with advanced degrees but they could not find any employment. My mother knew something needed to be done. Carleton Washburne served as the superintendent of schools in Winnetka, Illinois in the years leading up to the War. My mother knew he had Quaker connections so she asked him to attend Meeting with us. He stayed and he got involved. Eventually he connected teachers with the immigrants funneling through the AFSC office – helping them to learn English.
Over the years my experiences with the Service Committee opened my eyes to what could be accomplished when people worked together.