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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Fort Worth’s sister city gets help from South psychology teacher

By Christine Bethke/reporter

Fort Worth has a sister that not many people know about, said a South psychology assistant professor during a Nov. 16 presentation.That sister is Mbabane, Swaziland, said Staussa Ervin, who volunteers for Fort Worth Sister Cities International, a nonprofit organization that connects the people of Fort Worth with the people of several far-away countries.

She has traveled with the group to four of Fort Worth’s eight sister cities.

Africa, she said, is different than Americans’ standard perception of the culture that is seen on TV. In the more populated parts, Africa looks just like the United States, Ervin said.

Swaziland, located in the southeastern part of Africa, is a rural country not too far from South Africa. While visiting Africa, Ervin visited with college students.

“One of the things that is not really popular in most countries is volunteering,” she said. “One of the things we do at Fort Worth Sister Cities is we partner with the college students there and help them think of volunteer opportunities to help their communities.”

In addition to traveling abroad and educating others, Ervin has started a Change for Change program through the Fort Worth Sister Cities Organization.

Ervin collects spare change to buy books, school and art supplies and gently worn children’s shoes for African orphans.

The children walk five miles one way every day to reach the orphanage, where they attend school and are fed what is sometimes their only meal of the day.

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded Sister Cities in 1956.

At that time, the rest of the world had a negative view of America, and Eisenhower wanted to bridge that gap between the American culture and other cultures, Ervin said.

The organization creates partnerships with other countries.

Fort Worth has acquired eight sister cities in places like Italy, Germany and Japan since adopting the Sister Cities Program in 1987.

For more information on the Sister Cities program and volunteering, visit www.fwsistercities.org or email Ervin at staussa.ervin@tccd.edu.

Ervin said she willingly takes donations.

“I am always collecting spare change,” she said.

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