Northfield resident begins Peace Corps service in Guatemala

Dimick.Paul_GuatemalaPaul Dimick, 25, of Northfield, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Guatemala July 29 to begin training as a health volunteer. Dimick will live and work at the community level to make a difference by promoting health education. He will work with his community to develop activities centering on maternal and child health and other topics.

Dimick is the son of Daniel and Cahrene Dimick and a 2008 graduate of Northfield High School in Northfield, Minn. He attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where he earned a bachelor’s in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience in 2012.

“Carleton instilled in me a passion for service and an intellectual curiosity that will serve me well as a Peace Corps ­volunteer,” Dimick said. Continue reading

Video: Panama Peace Corps volunteers take viewers on a tour of their house

Housing for Peace Corps volunteers can range from modern city apartments to thatched-roof huts without electricity, depending on the country and assignment. Take a tour of Jordan and Sarah Varble’s house in Panama to see up close how these volunteers are spending two years. Jordan, of Farmington, Mo., and Sarah, of Mansfield, Mass., have been making a difference as environmental health volunteers since June 2013.

Promoting proper nutrition in Togo

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Ana Sigler with women who completed the health training in her Togo village.

Some malnourished babies in Togo are now healthier, thanks to the work of Peace Corps volunteer Ana Sigler and her Togolese colleague Adamou Tankoti.

Sigler was one of a handful of volunteers in Togo who participated in a bike tour throughout the country to train health workers. Katherine Ku, of Fair Oaks, Calif., organized two week-long rides through the West African nation and reached out to fellow volunteers to ride along and host trainings in their communities. Sigler, a Tallmadge, Ohio, resident before her service began in June 2013, knew this would be a great project for her local health clinic and asked Tankoti, a local farmer and well-respected man in the village, to help, allowing him to pick 10 women he believed would be most suitable for the training. Afterwards, the women then each trained 10 other women, completing eight programs and reaching 80 women.

“It was so wonderful to see so many women interested in the program and hear them talking about it for weeks,” said the 2011 Kent State University graduate. “Not to mention, we had quite a lot of babies gain weight as a result.” Continue reading

Maineville, Ohio, couple begins Peace Corps service in Namibia

Link.Steve&Barbara.Rugen_NamibiaSteven Link and Barbara Rugen, of Maineville, Ohio, have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Namibia July 21 to begin training as community economic development volunteers. Link and Rugen will live and work at the community level to make a difference training and advising businesses, nonprofit organizations, governments, educational institutions and support groups in business planning, marketing, financial management and product design.

Link, 70, said that he and his wife joined the Peace Corps for “the opportunity to grow and contribute in our retirement years.”

“We’re very blessed and want to help people who have been less fortunate,” the couple said. “Being luckier than most, we are in a position now to pass some of it on to people in greater need. Continue reading

Green Bay Peace Corps volunteer helps build wall to protect school in Senegal

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Peace Corps Volunteer Jordan Hatcher, in Senegal

When she arrived in Senegal in March 2013 to begin her Peace Corps service, Green Bay, Wis., native Jordan Hatcher looked forward to working as a health educator, teaching nutrition, sanitation, and other good habits that can make a real difference in people’s lives. Indeed, over the past year, much of her time has been spent in schools and the local health hut. But Hatcher has also learned that her community has another project they want her help with: construction of a wall around their primary school. A main road runs between several of the school buildings, leaving students and teachers unprotected; several serious accidents have occurred.

“Although I knew construction of the wall fell outside of my primary job duties, I saw the community’s initiative and commitment to the project and felt that this was an important cause to include in my service,” said Hatcher, 24, who graduated from Green Bay Preble High School in 2008.

The wall would protect the school’s staff and 150 students, as well as a newly constructed school garden and tree nursery. The Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), which supports Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide, is helping to fund the resources needed for the project. In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make at least a 25 percent contribution to the total project cost and outline success indicators for each project. This helps to ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability.

“The community has been the driving force in project planning and created a committee to oversee the timeline, finances, and masonry,” Hatcher said. “My goals are to create a safe learning environment for students, as well as to promote basic financial planning, budgeting, and project management skills for the committee responsible for the wall’s implementation.” Continue reading

‘Powerhouse of cheer’ prepares for next adventure in Namibia

Laufenberg.Kim_Namibia_cropKim Laufenberg, of Middleton, Wis., has a reputation for livening up social situations with her bold spirit.

“Extraordinary things happen when you hang out with Kim,” said Andrew Hansen, Laufenberg’s friend from sky diving. “Things like climbing a silo, running a half marathon, jumping out of airplanes, and writing music, to name a few.”

Her next adventure: moving to Africa. Laufenberg, 24, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Namibia July 21 to begin training as an education volunteer. She will live and work at the community level to make a difference teaching math to secondary students. Continue reading

New Peace Corps application streamlines process, offers choices to applicants

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2014 – Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet today announced sweeping changes to the agency’s application process that will make applying to the Peace Corps simpler, faster and more personalized than ever before. Under this new recruitment initiative, applicants will now be able to choose their country of service and apply to specific programs through a new, shorter application.

“More than 50 years after its founding, the Peace Corps is revitalizing its recruitment and outreach to field a volunteer force that represents the best and brightest the country has to offer,” Director Hessler-Radelet (RPCV Western Samoa 1981-83) said. “A modernized, flexible application and placement system will help Peace Corps recruit Americans who are not just interested in imagining a better world, but rolling up their sleeves and doing something about it.” Continue reading