Chicago Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas in 2016

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Today, Peace Corps announced that the Chicagoland area – which includes Chicago, Joliet and Naperville – ranks No. 4 among metropolitan areas with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers. The state of Illinois also ranks No. 6 among the top volunteer-producing states. There are 245 volunteers from the Chicagoland area, and 301 Illinois residents currently serving worldwide. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, 8,788 residents from the Land of Lincoln have served in the Peace Corps.

“During my time leading the Peace Corps, I have seen the tremendous impact that volunteers have when they share their unique hometown perspectives with the communities they serve,” said Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Volunteers represent our nation’s rich diversity by coming from all corners of the U.S. They are able to share our nation’s rich cultural heritage with communities around the world, leaving a legacy of peace and friendship that is timeless.”

This is the eighth consecutive year that Chicago has ranked among the five top volunteer-producing metropolitan areas and the state of Illinois ranked in the top ten. Volunteers from Illinois are among the more than 225,000 Americans who have served around the world as agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development Volunteers since 1961.  Continue reading “Chicago Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas in 2016”

Illinois State University Campus Recruiter Overcomes Adversities to Serve in the Peace Corps

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Joining the Peace Corps wasn’t the easiest decision Vanessa Soto ever made, but it was the right one.

After emigrating to the U.S. from Mexico and forging a new life for their family, Soto’s parents wanted more for their children. Passing up a salary job after graduation to travel the world did not seem like the most lucrative option to her family.

But they were wrong.

“It felt like my family had taken a step forward and I would be taking two steps back,” Soto said. “But after explaining the benefits of serving: gaining experience and the opportunity to see a part of the world that is mostly unknown to my local community – they started to accept that it was my calling.” Continue reading “Illinois State University Campus Recruiter Overcomes Adversities to Serve in the Peace Corps”

Western Illinois University Celebrates 22 Years of Peace Corps Partnership with Two New Graduate Programs

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The Peace Corps and Western Illinois University (WIU) today announced the addition of two new graduate degrees under their Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. Now, students will be able to pursue graduate degrees in liberal arts and sciences, and community and economic development. Previously, WIU has offered a degree in rural community and economic development through their Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which has been a staple at the school for 22 years.

“We are delighted to partner with WIU to support our returned Volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of Volunteers, and returned Peace Corps Volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.” Continue reading “Western Illinois University Celebrates 22 Years of Peace Corps Partnership with Two New Graduate Programs”

Peace Corps and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

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The Peace Corps and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) today announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that will provide graduate school fellowships to returned Peace Corps Volunteers. All program Fellows will complete internships in underserved American communities while they complete their studies, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as Volunteers.

“We are delighted to partner with TCSPP to support our returned Volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of Volunteers, and returned Peace Corps Volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.”

The Fellows Program at TCSPP will be housed in the International Psychology Online Program, and available to students pursuing a master’s degree in international psychology (IP). Students in the program examine the social, political, and psychological issues that impact the world.
Continue reading “Peace Corps and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program”

Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Flora Tano

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Name: Flora Tano
Country of Service: China, 2013-15
Assignment:  Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Recruitment Territory: Chicagoland

When you applied where you did hope to go or hoped to do?
I had no particular preference; however, I assumed that being a native French speaker and from the Ivory Coast would automatically destine me for an African country.  I was wrong. Peace Corps had something else for me. Continue reading “Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Flora Tano”

Discrimination in the Dominican Republic empowers Peace Corps volunteer

Self Love

Deandra Bass’ counterparts warned her not to dip into the hot Dominican sun: “It will make your skin too dark,” they offered. They made those comments not out of malice or discrimination, but out of love and protection.  As an African-American Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, Bass could blend in with her local community – for the most part. But at times, she danced with the color line, causing some to question if her skin was not of Dominican decent, but of Haitian. This ambiguity exposed her to an ongoing political struggle that was bigger than her.

“Some volunteers were asked to get off buses and not allowed to travel because they were dark-skinned and looked Haitian,” said Bass, who served from 2012-15. “I once was questioned for my identification to prove I was not Haitian. Luckily, I had the support of fellow volunteers who advocated on my behalf and, fortunately, I was not asked to leave the bus.” Continue reading “Discrimination in the Dominican Republic empowers Peace Corps volunteer”

University of Illinois earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list

Hillary Seely •Served in The Gambia as an agriculture and environmental volunteer from 2011-2013.
Hilary Antosh served in The Gambia as an agriculture and environmental volunteer from 2011-2013. She graduated from Illinois in 2007.

CHICAGO – For the 16th consecutive year, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has earned a spot on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, the agency announced today. Currently, 35 Illinois alumni are serving as Peace Corps volunteers, putting the university at No. 16 on the 2016 list, up four spots from last year.

The University of Illinois is the No. 7 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers, with 2,026 graduates having served since the agency was created in 1961.

“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.” Continue reading “University of Illinois earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list”