Minnesota native joins Peace Corps for more profound way to travel

Kendra Meltzer, right, with her twin sister Carly

Kendra Meltzer, right, with her twin sister Carly

Kendra Meltzer, 22, of Edina, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Nicaragua March 3 to begin training as a health extension volunteer. Meltzer will live and work at the community level training community members, at-risk populations and service providers on healthy behaviors to reduce unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases and improve maternal and infant health.

“I don’t view myself traveling as a tourist and going to museums to learn the history and culture,” Meltzer said. “I have always wanted to live and breathe the culture of a new place, something that the Peace Corps will allow me to do while gaining valuable experience and helping people and communities along the way.”

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OSU grad follows passion for service to Peace Corps Nicaragua

 

Potts.Jennifer_Nicaragua_2Jennifer Potts, 23, of Urbana, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Nicaragua March 3 to begin training as a business advising volunteer. Potts will live and work at the community level co-teaching entrepreneurial class in public high school and vocational school classrooms. She will also work with small business owners to expand their productivity and competitiveness and help community members reach their financial goals.

“I have always believed in service and helping others as much as I am able, and I think many Americans feel this way,” Potts said. “The Peace Corps is an outward expression of this international friendship and service. The more I looked into the program, met former and current volunteers, the more I felt like it was something I am meant to do.” Continue reading

International experience leads Poynette, Wis., resident to Peace Corps

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Katlyn Saley, 23, of Poynette, Wis., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Malawi March 2 to begin training as an environmental education volunteer. Saley will live and work at the community level to raise awareness about a variety of health issues, including nutrition, sanitation, malaria, community health, water, maternal and child health, and HIV/AIDS.

“In the past few years, I have been given the opportunity to go abroad and travel in Third World countries on a few different occasions,” Saley said. “It is in these countries that God continues to call me to help these parts of the world. It is because of that calling that I pursued the Peace Corps.” Continue reading

Canton, Ill., native begins Peace Corps service in Malawi

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Amber Furness, 25, of Canton, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Malawi March 2 to begin training as a natural resource management extension volunteer. Furness will live and work at the community level outside of a national park or forest reserve to improve use of local natural resources through forestry management and promoting better food security with soil and water management. Her possible projects include establishing and managing fruit trees, educating community members on improved cook stoves and encouraging composting, mulching, agroforestry, conservation agriculture, small scale irrigation and permaculture.

“I am excited to learn about new cultures and advance my knowledge of environmental management in a service-oriented position,” Furness said. “Connecting with the people of Malawi will mean new friendships and perspectives that I can share in the U.S. I know that this will be a unique, life-changing experience that I will always cherish.” Continue reading

Superior native begins Peace Corps service in Malawi

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Anya Russom, 26, of Superior, Wis., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Malawi March 2 to begin training as an environmental education volunteer. Russom will live and work at the community level to assist communities where environmental issues are in conflict with basic needs for farming and income generation. Her projects will include educating youth on environmental issues, organizing environmental groups, promoting sustainable use of wildlife, forest or marine resources and developing income-generating activities for communities near protected areas.

“I have wanted to be in the Peace Corps for as long as I can remember,” Russom said. “I started travelling internationally when I was 15, and I never stopped. My times overseas have become increasingly impactful on my life, and the Peace Corps now seems like the natural next step. I am ready to welcome Malawi into my life and my heart.” Continue reading

Peace Corps runs in the family for daughter, mother, grandmother

Janet Pershing, Jan Larsen and Abby Pershing

Janet Pershing, Jan Larsen and Abby Pershing

As a kid, Abby Pershing thought she had the coolest mom. She grew up listening to her mother, Janet (Larsen) Pershing, speak Bambara, which sounded like secret-agent talk to Abby but is actually a language of Mali, where Janet served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1983-85.

Through her mother’s words and photos, Peace Corps seemed like a grand adventure, but Abby was able to see life as a volunteer up close when she visited her grandmother in Burkina Faso. Inspired by her daughter Janet, Jan Larsen also made a difference as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, serving from 2010-12.

In February, Abby, of Rockville, Md., will follow in both of their footsteps and begin her own Peace Corps service in Senegal.

“I received my invitation to serve while on a trip with my grandmother, so she was the first to find out,” said Abby, who graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and public policy. “It was really special to share that with her. She is so excited that I am joining the Peace Corps, particularly given that Burkina Faso and Senegal are both in West Africa.” Continue reading

Oakland University grad departs for Peace Corps Paraguay

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Alex Morton, 22, of Muskegon, Mich., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Paraguay March 2 to begin training as a community services volunteer. Morton will live and work at the community level to organize projects focusing on education, youth development, health, environment and business. She will work with municipalities, cooperatives, schools, non-governmental organizations, neighborhood commissions and other organizations to help the community evaluate and address its needs.

“I was motivated to serve in the Peace Corps to help others in need,” Morton said. “I also hope to use my experiences in Paraguay to educate others in the community about other cultures and the need in some of these communities.” Continue reading