South Milwaukee native seeks to find home in Peace Corps Peru

Kurstin Mazzoni with her mother, Christine Chavez-Mazzoni.
Kurstin Mazzoni with her mother, Christine Chavez-Mazzoni.

Kurstin Mazzoni, 23, of South Milwaukee, Wis., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Peru Aug. 18 to begin training as an urban youth development volunteer. Mazzoni will live and work at the community level to support teachers and parents in understanding and approaching youth in Peru. Additionally, she will help youth improve their self-esteem, life skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, vocational skills, educational achievement, and community involvement.

“I’ve always had the desire to volunteer on an international basis,” Mazzoni said. “Since middle school, I’ve been saying I would join the Peace Corps and it’s finally happening. As a social worker, it’s always been my passion to advocate and support communities in need.” Continue reading “South Milwaukee native seeks to find home in Peace Corps Peru”

Chicagoland resident will learn about his Cambodian heritage as Peace Corps volunteer

Brian Wells, right, pictured with his brother and sister, Robert and Sarah Wells.
Brian Wells, right, pictured with his brother and sister, Robert and Sarah Wells.

Brian Wells, 25, of Aurora, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Cambodia July 24 to begin training as a community health education volunteer. Wells will live and work at the community level to provide health education through one-on-one interactions at community health centers, community outreach and home visits. He will also train on health topics, such as nutrition, maternal and child health, sanitation, hygiene, family planning and non-communicable diseases.

“My initial reason for joining Peace Corps was to have the opportunity to experience a different culture. I had traveled before, but never felt like I had the time to really connect,” Wells said. “I felt like being able to stay 27 months would give me that opportunity. I was attracted to the cultural exchange aspect. Living in a bi-racial family I’ve seen the enrichment it has provided in my life. So I am always excited to go out and learn about other people, and teach people about myself.” Continue reading “Chicagoland resident will learn about his Cambodian heritage as Peace Corps volunteer”

Meet your Peace Corps Midwest Regional Recruiter: Rok Teasley

Name: Rok Teasley
Country of Service: Moldova, 2005-08
Assignment: Organizational Development/Social Work
Recruitment Territory: Chicago Continue reading “Meet your Peace Corps Midwest Regional Recruiter: Rok Teasley”

Aurora, Ill., resident begins Peace Corps service in Costa Rica

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Jessica Danielle Skeesick, 25, of Aurora, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Costa Rica on July 8 to begin training as a youth development volunteer. Skeesick will make a difference working on projects related to healthy lifestyles and life skills.

“I have always wanted to volunteer in a third-world country,” she said. “Peace Corps is the best opportunity to do so. I have a passion for helping people.” Continue reading “Aurora, Ill., resident begins Peace Corps service in Costa Rica”

Spring Grove, Ill., resident begins Peace Corps service in Guinea

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Hannah Koeppl, 23, of Spring Grove, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Guinea July 1 to begin training as an education volunteer. Koeppl will make a difference teaching secondary education physics and working on public health initiatives to prevent malaria and HIV/AIDS.

“Everything attracted me to the Peace Corps: the opportunity to immerse myself and gain perspective of a new culture, use my current skills to educate and empower a community in need, learn a new language, and the challenge and adventure,” Koeppl said. Continue reading “Spring Grove, Ill., resident begins Peace Corps service in Guinea”

Glendale Heights, Ill., resident begins Peace Corps service in Albania

Siddiqui.Saadia_Albania

Saadia Siddiqui, 29, of Glendale Heights, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Albania March 18 to begin training as a community and organizational development facilitator. Siddiqui will live and work in a community to improve marketing and public relations strategies of organizations and businesses.

“I would like to make a difference,” Siddiqui said. “I understand that I can’t change the whole world, but I would [like] to be part of an organization that helps change a small part of it.” 

Siddiqui is the daughter of Mohammed and Farzana Siddiqui and a 2002 graduate of Streamwood High School in Streamwood, Ill. She graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 2009. Continue reading “Glendale Heights, Ill., resident begins Peace Corps service in Albania”

Peace Corps volunteer returns home from Philippines with new career focus

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Alyssa Budoff performs a folk dance with teachers and students in the Philippines.

The summer after she graduated college in 2005, Alyssa Budoff volunteered in Ghana and Thailand. The experiences were rewarding, she said, but she soon realized that truly making a difference required a longer commitment than weeks or even months.

“I wanted to have a greater impact on the communities in which I was working and realized that this would require not only an investment of time, but also a commitment to learning the local language, embracing the culture, and engaging with the community in a more meaningful way,” she said. “This was exactly the type of experience Peace Corps offered.”

Budoff, originally from Spring Valley, N.Y., but now living in Chicago, returned to America in August after completing her Peace Corps service. For three years, Budoff taught English at a vocational high school in the Philippines. She lived in a rural farming and fishing community about 18 hours from the capital city of Manila. Continue reading “Peace Corps volunteer returns home from Philippines with new career focus”