As a natural resource management volunteer in Ghana from 2011-13, Austin C. Pruett helped a local school raise money through sustainable agricultural projects such as beekeeping, and he coordinated a collective of farmers to pool resources so members could produce and sell more cashews. Yet, it was in his secondary projects that the Chicago native was able to find his true calling. As a philosophy and digital cinema graduate from DePaul University, Pruett helped launch PCV Media, a committee of Peace Corps Ghana volunteers who created training videos and cultural documentaries to educate Ghanaians, volunteers and other Americans. Below, he describes his projects and how this work propelled his career. Do these videos inspire you to become a volunteer? Peace Corps is now accepting applications for health and community service assignments in Ghana: http://1.usa.gov/1KASsK8
How did video play a part of your service? What were you intentions/messages about Ghana as a whole and what were you were trying to portray with your videos?
I came to Ghana with the intention of making films, although when I was accepted into Peace Corps, I had very little experience making films on a professional level. I knew that coming to Africa would present a lot of opportunity for filmmaking and storytelling.
President Jimmy Carter, Jack Campbell, and Peace Corps Chief of Staff Laura Chambers at the Lillian Carter Awards in Atlanta.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Peace Corps Chief of Staff Laura Chambers presented the 2015 Lillian Carter Award to returned volunteer Jack Campbell, of Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday at a ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Campbell, 84, began service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji in 1989 at age 58 and completed a second assignment in Botswana from 1992-1994.
“From the very beginning, Peace Corps volunteers have entered service at all ages, from all walks of life,” Chambers said. “We’re so inspired by senior volunteers … who take the wisdom and skills they’ve acquired over their lifetime and share them so willingly with others, proving that it’s never too late to make a difference.” Continue reading →
Elsa Shaver had walked by a stack of mail nearly 50 times before the headline on a magazine jumped at her: “My two years in the Peace Corps as an electrical engineer.” Her son Lee was approaching his graduation from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where he studied electrical engineering, and unsure about his next step. As she read the article, she was more convinced that Peace Corps was the right fit for her son.
That article would launch a path to Peace Corps for not only Lee, but for Elsa and her husband, Jeff, as well. The three Shavers, originally from Syracuse, N.Y., but now living in Madison, Wis., are all returned Peace Corps volunteers, with Lee serving in El Salvador from 2007-09 and Elsa and Jeff serving in Botswana from 2012-14. Continue reading →
Trista Ebnet, 25, of Kasson, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Mongolia May 29 to begin training as an English education volunteer. Ebnet will live and work at the community level to make a difference teaching English to university students, teachers, and community members, as well as developing resources and improving teaching methodologies.
“The Peace Corps offers me the opportunity to use my skills as I help people on a more global scale and foster a positive impression of the United States,” Ebnet said. Continue reading →
Eric Koester, 21, of Waterloo, Wis., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Mongolia May 29 to begin training as a youth development and community services volunteer. Koester will live and work at the community level and make a difference working with school social workers, teachers, and community members to facilitate positive youth development and promote youth participation with camps, clubs, and English classes.
“The ability to help others on a large scale attracted me to join the Peace Corps,” Koester said. Continue reading →
Daniel Maginot, 23, of Crown Point, Ind., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Cameroon May 26 to begin training as a secondary education science teacher volunteer. Maginot will live and work at the community level and make a difference teaching general science, biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as health education and environmental education.
“I wish to obtain a different perspective and gain an understanding of others who live a completely different culture and lifestyle,” Maginot said. Continue reading →
Kristen Foos, 23, of Oakwood, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for The Gambia May 28 to begin training as an education volunteer. Foos will live and work at the community level to make a difference training primary school teachers to improve their methodologies and introduce new classroom strategies.
Foos was inspired to serve in the Peace Corps by Mama Rosie, a woman she met during a service trip to South Africa in college.
“She had dedicated her entire life to giving back to the people in her community. She inspired me to do something meaningful with my life,” Foos said. “I am so excited to go to The Gambia and give back to the community, just as Mama Rosie gave back to her community.” Continue reading →