Joining the Peace Corps had always been on Rebecca McCroskey’s bucket list, but life always seemed to get in the way. But after raising two children and forging a successful 40 year career, McCroskey is finally ready to cross it off her bucket list. On March 10, McCroskey will depart for Jamaica to begin training as an environment/agro-forestry Volunteer and will work with local organizations and schools to educate her community about sustainable lifestyles.
“My years on the planet have given me a level of confidence I couldn’t have possessed in my 20s. Kids, jobs, relocation, disease, divorce and death – life takes guts,” she said. “I have boldly jumped off lots of cliffs, and I’ve been pushed off a couple as well. This assignment will become another chapter in my personal microcosmic study.”
McCroskey began volunteering as early as 16 and has since dedicated much of her life to public service. Throughout her career, she has worked overseas in Ghana, volunteered with the Democratic Party and the Progressive Women’s Caucus, and ran for Muskegon County Clerk in 2004. She has two children: Zack and Emily Apman.
“I plan to retire after the Peace Corps,” McCroskey said. “I believe that the knowledge and skills I will develop, as a middle-aged woman living well outside her comfort zone in a foreign country, will become an invaluable part of my path to whatever is next.”
McCroskey attended North Muskegon High School in 1971, and graduated from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor in 1975 with degrees in English, psychology and sociology. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in legal studies from Lone Mountain College and pursued a dynamic career after that.
“Middle age brings with it a certain amount of pragmatism. I have learned that trust and patience are the building blocks to change, and that real change moves at a glacial pace. I am cautiously optimistic, and my heart is open. I believe this approach will help me to perform the tasks expected of me.”
During the first three months of her service, McCroskey will live with a host family in Jamaica to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, McCroskey will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in Jamaica, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.
McCroskey will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Jamaica and help McCroskey to develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens who are well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.
McCroskey joins the 239 Michigan residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 7,376 Michigan residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.
About Peace Corps/Jamaica: There are more than 65 volunteers in Jamaica working with their communities on projects in education and the environment. During their service in Jamaica, volunteers learn to speak Jamaican Patois. More than 3,925 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Jamaica since the program was established in 1962.