Natalie Lake, a native of Minneapolis, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru, from 2012-14.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area again this year ranks among the top-producing metropolitan areas for Peace Corps volunteers. Currently, the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs are home to 142 active Peace Corps volunteers and rank No. 8 among U.S. metro areas in total volunteers.
Minnesota also ranks No. 9 for states, per capita, for Peace Corps volunteers. Minnesota produces 3.7 volunteers for every 100,000 state residents. Overall, 202 Minnesotans are currently serving as volunteers.
Recently returned volunteer Natalie Lake is a Minneapolis native whose background projected her into service in Peru. Lake, a 2008 graduate of Black School in Hopkins, Minn., made a difference as an environmental education volunteer, teaching the importance of the local ecosystem and how to limit the effects of climate change. She also initiated a recycling program that now reaches 1,560 homes.
“I think having grown up in the ‘Minnesota Nice’ culture has definitely shaped a part of who I am,” said Lake, a graduate of the Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. “Always being friendly and neighborly is something I tried to emulate during my service and something that my community has definitely described as one of my key traits.”