Ohio couple wins Peace Corps’ Blog It Home competition through vivid stories of life in China

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Keith and Heather May, center, are English education volunteers in China.

Keith and Heather May left their careers, sold their home and gave away their pets to be Peace Corps volunteers in China. They couldn’t predict how their service would turn out, but they did know they would have great stories to tell.

The Mays, who teach English at Guiyang University, started a blog to tell those stories, but they soon saw their blog as an opportunity to share different perspectives from those often portrayed in the U.S. Through stories of their students and travels throughout the country, the Mays describe a developing country that is full of beautiful landscapes and people. Their blog reflects Peace Corps’ Third Goal of promoting a better understanding among Americans of other people and cultures

“Americans have many thoughts on China,” Keith said. “It is very important for us to be honest and authentic, and not generalize an entire country and its people. It is best if we focus on particular moments, places and people without falling into the trap of generalizing or exaggerating the positive or negative.” Continue reading

From AmeriCorps to Peace Corps, Indianapolis native commits to service-oriented work

Guerin.Danielle_CameroonDanielle Guerin, of Indianapolis, was studying entrepreneurship at Bradley University, in Peoria, Ill., when she began to doubt a future in the for-profit world. When she brought up the Peace Corps to her college adviser, she was encouraged to try AmeriCorps to determine if service work was really for her.

It was, and after working as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Indianapolis, Guerin is ready to begin her Peace Corps service as an agriculture extension volunteer. She departed for Cameroon Sept. 9 and will live and work at the community level to make a difference assisting farmers and those who work with agricultural products from farming/production to market.

During her AmeriCorps service, Guerin, 24, knew she still wanted to do Peace Corps, but she was also interested in going to graduate school. She visited Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and learned about its Peace Corps Master’s International program, which allows her to earn her master’s degree and complete her Peace Corps service simultaneously. As soon as she was accepted into the program, she began applying to Peace Corps. IU Bloomington is one of Peace Corps top schools for undergraduates and MI students, ranking 25th and 10th in the nation. Continue reading

My Peace Corps experience as Native American

Shawn Abeita served in Panama from 2007-09 as a community economic development volunteer. He is now a recruiter for Peace Corps’ Southwest Region. This article originally appeared Sept. 2, 2014 on IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.com and on http://peacecorpssouthwest.wordpress.com/.

Growing up on a Native American reservation has profoundshawn_abeita_-_courtesy_peace_corpsly impacted my life choices and career path. My community members and surroundings taught me about the worldview of my people, and the knowledge I acquired from community elders continues to influence how I interact with others. As an Indigenous person, I represent where I come from along with my community’s core values, including love, faith, compassion, service, and dedication to community. These values are instilled in me. They are who I am. My personal goal is to be of service to my community and I have realized the acquisition of knowledge is one avenue to accomplish my goal.

Continue reading

Former Girl Scout finds similar values in Peace Corps

Schaeger_MacedoniaGwendolyn Schaefer, 23, of Hanson, Ky., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Macedonia Sept. 12 to begin training as an English education volunteer. Schaefer will live and work at the community level to make a difference providing formal and informal training and support to elementary school teachers in a co-teaching environment. She will work with co-teachers to model participatory methodologies, conduct workshops and provide classroom English language instruction.

“I decided to join the Peace Corps during my undergraduate career because as I studied international development I knew that I wanted to spend time before graduate school giving back to others and gaining practical experience in the field,” Schaefer said. Continue reading

Minnesotan eager to share her skills in Peru as a Peace Corps volunteer

Heller.Emily_PeruEmily Heller, 22, of Maple Grove, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Peru Sept. 10 to begin training as an environmental volunteer. Heller will live and work at the community level to make a difference assisting communities on environmental issues that aide in providing basic needs for farming and income generation. Her potential projects, based on the community’s needs, will include teaching in elementary and secondary schools, providing environmental education to youth groups and individuals outside school settings, organizing environmental groups, promoting sustainable use of forest or marine resources by communities, developing income-generating activities and managing sanitation in urban areas.

“I decided to join the Peace Corps because I wanted to travel, share my skills and make my time worthwhile by helping others,” Heller said. Continue reading

Ann Arbor resident brings passion for education, youth development to Peace Corps Rwanda

Hart.Sophie_RwandaSophia Hart, 22, of Ann Arbor, Mich., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Rwanda Sept. 9 to begin training as an English education volunteer. Hart will live and work at the community level to make a difference teaching conversational English, English as a foreign language and content-based English in middle and high schools.

“I have always loved learning about other cultures and places, so I was attracted to the Peace Corps’ goal of mutual learning between communities and Peace Corps volunteers,” Hart said. “Education and youth development are my major passions and, through the Peace Corps, I knew that I would have the opportunity to serve in those fields. I also believe that spreading a peaceful image of the U.S. is one of the most important things that I can do for my country.” Continue reading

Columbus native prepares to make a difference with Peace Corps in Peru

Hackbarth.Jamie_PeruJamie Hackbarth, 22, of Columbus, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Peru Sept. 10 to begin training as a health extension volunteer. Hackbarth will live and work at the community level to make a difference raising awareness about the need for health education through a variety of activities, such as identifying local leaders to teach families about maternal and child health and organizing trainings on nutrition, sanitation and oral re-hydration therapy.

“I participated in short mission trips in high school at an orphanage in Honduras, which motivated me to seek a career in the not-for-profit sector and attracted me to the Peace Corps,” Hackbarth said. “It also motivated me to pursue my goal of working abroad and challenge myself to give back and also grow as a global citizen.” Continue reading