Michigan Resident Marks Peace Corps Service Off Bucket List

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.” Continue reading “Michigan Resident Marks Peace Corps Service Off Bucket List”

Why serving in the Peace Corps isn’t putting your career on hold

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Heather Mangan, center, served in Peace Corps Lesotho, from 2011-13.

I couldn’t do Peace Corps because I had student loans. I couldn’t do Peace Corps because it would break my mother’s heart to leave for two years. I couldn’t do Peace Corps because I was on a career path and volunteering would certainly disrupt my professional climb.

These are all reasons I justified not applying to the Peace Corps when I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2007. Instead, I took a reporting job at a small daily newspaper and began living the typical American life with bills, a time card, and not enough vacation time.

The whim to join the Peace Corps, which came to me one night while procrastinating on my French homework, didn’t perish after I entered the work force. Rather, it bloomed into a full life goal. All those reasons I had used to convince myself that Peace Corps wasn’t for me could no longer overcome this picture I had in my head of being at the end of my life and not having experienced the Peace Corps. That imagined regret motivated me to apply. Continue reading “Why serving in the Peace Corps isn’t putting your career on hold”

The journey home: Indiana retiree returns to Peace Corps 37 years later

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Lynne Newlon launched her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland when she was 21. After retiring thirty-seven years later, Newlon is returning to the Peace Corps and will serve in a South African community less than two hours from where she served in 1979.

At her retirement party, Lynne Newlon thought she was saying goodbye to her 30-year career in public service. For her, retirement meant more time at home with family and friends and finally tackling the stubborn home projects she had put off for years.

But plans change. Less than a year after retiring, the Indiana native will depart for South Africa on May 7 to serve in the Peace Corps – for the second time– and she couldn’t be more excited. Continue reading “The journey home: Indiana retiree returns to Peace Corps 37 years later”

Facing challenges in Africa, volunteer embraced opportunity to be more conscious of his identity

David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.
David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.

As an African-American Peace Corps volunteer, David Goodloe had a lot of superficial notions about what going to Africa for the first time would mean. He imagined a vivid Hollywood-like scene: walking off the plane and being greeted with “Welcome home,” or “It’s so good to have you back.”

But upon arriving in Benin, Africa for his Peace Corps service, he quickly realized that the romanticized vision was not reality. Perhaps the hardest lesson Goodloe had to learn was that he didn’t fit in just because he shared the same skin tone as others in his village.   Continue reading “Facing challenges in Africa, volunteer embraced opportunity to be more conscious of his identity”

Peace Corps leads volunteer to Foreign Service

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Jerica Ward (left) served as an education volunteer in the Philippines from 2009-11. Her work abroad sparked her interest in international service, leading her to join the Foreign Service in fall of 2016.

Peace Corps prepared Jerica Ward for her career in international service – so much so, that she will enter the Foreign Service in the fall of this year to begin her work as a U.S. diplomat. But when serving as an education volunteer in the Philippines, from 2009-11, Ward was only just beginning to understand her passion for international service, the work it entails and the challenges she would face.

“In August 2009, I became the first person in my family to go overseas,” Ward said. “Throughout my tenure as a Peace Corps education volunteer, I worked with various USAID projects, a United Nations HIV/AIDS initiative, taught in high schools, universities, out-of-school youth programs, and became fluent in Tagalog. Through this work, I learned that I was skilled in project development.”

Continue reading “Peace Corps leads volunteer to Foreign Service”

Returned Peace Corps volunteer and Senegal native’s friendship flourishes 40 years later

Returned Peace Corps volunteer, Tony Ends and Hamidou Sakhanokho (above) met when Ends was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal in 1975. Today, the two are still close as they reflect on their forty year friendship.
Returned Peace Corps volunteer, Tony Ends and Hamidou Sakhanokho (above) met when Ends was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal in 1975. Today, the two are still close as they reflect on their forty year friendship.

When Hamidou Sakhanokho stares at the degrees that hang on the walls of his office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he thinks about his quest to the United States, his home village of Tourimé, Senegal, and the obstacles he has overcome. But one name always comes to mind as he reflects on his journey to success: returned Peace Corps volunteer Tony Ends.

“Besides my parents and siblings, my English teacher, Tony, is the person who influenced me the most,” said Sakhanokho, 55, a research plant molecular geneticist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Poplarville, Miss. “By American standards, Tony was by no means a rich person, and yet he was willing to send a plane ticket to a former student in Senegal and help educate him in the U.S. Thanks to his help, I was able to get an excellent education and subsequently a good job.” Continue reading “Returned Peace Corps volunteer and Senegal native’s friendship flourishes 40 years later”

From Alpha Phi Alpha to Peace Corps, IU grad student dedicates life to service

Donovan Wright, left, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda from 2012-14.
Donovan Wright, left, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda from 2012-14.

Donovan Wright was raised to believe in service. From Alpha Phi Alpha to Peace Corps, serving others is how Wright wants to spend his life.

As a student at Bradley University, Wright was initiated into the Epsilon Kappa chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and then served as a community health volunteer in Peace Corps Rwanda, from 2012-2014. The two service-oriented organizations are partnered to encourage Alpha Phi Alpha members to take their passion for service to a community in need overseas. For Wright, being a dedicated member of both organizations has ingrained in him values that now represent who he is as a person. Continue reading “From Alpha Phi Alpha to Peace Corps, IU grad student dedicates life to service”