MTSCA Friends & Volunteers

Tania Jones, Volunteer
Tania visited Tours in 2012, has been to Paris several times and is a self-proclaimed “citizen of the world,”  collecting passport stamps from India, various countries in Europe, and islands in the Seychelles.

Beth Parkhill, Former Board Member

Having traveled to France many times over the years, Beth and her husband, Bob (also formerly on the Minneaplis-Tours board) finally took the leap a few years ago and bought a country home in a small village not far from Tours. After they bought the house, they met with our village mayor to get to know about the regulations about restoring a historic building — Bob concluded the meeting with the all too familiar ‘bon courage!’ They had no idea what they were getting themselves into, remodeling every floor, ceiling, and wall and discovering the stone walls, the centuries old beams, and the true character of the 15th and 19th century petite chateau. Working along with local artisans gave them a deeper appreciation for the people and the area. Bob and Beth have been spoiled by the seemingly endless exploration of French wine, cheese, pastries and buying directly from local farmers and wineries — not to mention the gourmet restaurants, local markets, marché aux puces (flea markets), vide greniers (town-hosted garage sales), art galleries, and more.

Tours provides them with the perfect contrast to village life, with it’s lively downtown and culture. Beth is a former board member who says joining the board helped her feel more connected, building a bridge between her two worlds — Minneapolis and France. The people that Bob and Beth met in Tours have been so open and supportive of their renewed sister-cities association that she’s looking forward to seeing what they can create together.

Robert Corrick, Former Board Member
Bob enjoys the friendships that he has made through the sister cities program and wants to promote a cultural exchange between the two cities. Bob and his wife Beth Parkhill, also formerly a member of the Minneapolis-Tours board , became interested in Minneapolis-Tours Sister Cities because they enjoy spending time in a Loire village nearby. One of Bob’s memories of Tours is the outdoor markets. There is one every morning somewhere in the city.

Mary Bullock, Former Board Member
Mary was first introduced to the Minneapolis – Tours Sister Cities when Simin asked her for help in finding a hockey team from Minneapolis to play in a tournament in Tours. She has a son who plays college hockey and a daughter who plays high school hockey, so she knows a lot about twin cities hockey.

For the last two years she has been taking French classes with Simin at the Alliance Francaise, deepening her love and fascination with the French, their language and culture. Thus putting hockey and French together was a very exciting idea for her. She met with Beatrice Pawlik when she was in Minneapolis last year. They worked on putting together a hockey team to send to Tours and also on having a team from Tours come to Minneapolis. They are still working on this and hope to be able to see this happen soon. However, they are learning there are many bumps in the road when it comes to international travel and 10 year olds.

Sports is a universal language, whether hockey, soccer or any sport, it can break down language barriers, open cultural exchange and create a commonality that brings children and adults together from different countries. She would love to see sports play a role in bringing these two cities and their children together and creating a greater cultural awareness.

She is married to Jim Bullock and has three children, Jamie 25, Ryan 20 and Carly 15. She has been a volunteer with Animal Humane Society since 1995 (also a member of the Volunteer Advisory Board at AHS) and a volunteer with Kindest Cut, a low-income spay and neuter organization, since Jan. 2014. In addition, she is a monthly volunteer with Meals on Wheels in Eden Prairie since 2000 and has served a myriad of volunteer positions with school and church since moving to Minnesota in 1994.

Helen Burke, Former Board Member

In October 1994, Helen volunteered to be host for Minneapolis’ first intern from Tours. Stephanie stayed five months chez moi while she “worked” at the downtown library. Helen’s biggest concern during her stay? ‘How could any bread here possibly be up to French standards?’ And what was 23-year-old Stephanie’s clear choice, hands down, among all the possible breads? Lund’s “budget” white bread!! That’s proof positive that it’s easier than one thinks to successfully host une Francaise!

Hosting Stephanie led Helen to become involved with Minneapolis-Tours and to visit la Touraine twice. Her favorite chateau? Hard to choose just one, yet Amboise wins. Helen says Amboise is Stephanie’s favorite, too, which is close to her hometown of Blere.

Sarah Johnson, Former Board Member

Sarah started as a volunteer for Minneapolis and Tours Sister Cities in 2009, when she joined the group at the annual Sister Cities Day Aquatennial celebration, and joined the board in 2014. She graduated as a French major from the University of Minnesota, Morris and studied in Paris in August 1998. She has always enjoyed a love of French culture and sharing her passion for France with others in the Twin Cities and Tours.


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