Minnesota Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing States in 2016

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Today, Peace Corps announced that the Twin Cities region, which includes Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington, ranks No. 5 among the top metropolitan areas with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers. The state of Minnesota also ranks No. 5 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per 100,000 residents. There are 180 volunteers from the Twin Cities and 232 volunteers from Minnesota currently serving worldwide. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, 6,753 Minnesotans 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 fourth straight year Minnesota has ranked among the top 10 states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per 100,000 residents. The Twin Cities have consistently ranked among the top 10 metropolitan areas, and this year marks the region’s first appearance among the top five. Minnesota and the Twin Cities region have been rising in the ranks for the past three years. Volunteers from the Land of 10,000 Lakes 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 “Minnesota Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing States in 2016”

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Completes Service in Uganda

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Peace Corps Volunteers know that service isn’t a bucket list item; it’s a life-long dedication. Once you are part of the Peace Corps family, you are always a member. No one knows that better than Lindsay Carrera, a Hartland, Wisconsin, native who recently completed her service in Uganda.

“I have always wanted to do Peace Corps – since I was young,” Carrera said, “I love learning about people and trying to help. It was an educational experience.” Continue reading “Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Completes Service in Uganda”

Peace Corps Volunteer Spreads Hope and Education Through HIV/AIDS Prevention

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Abigail Halberg was far removed from HIV/AIDS before joining the Peace Corps. It was a far-fetched concept she could not entirely grasp, even after working as a nurse for several years.

But serving in the Peace Corps changed her relationship with health and HIV/AIDS for the better.

“Before the Peace Corps, I had never met anyone with HIV/AIDS,” Halberg said. “Now, I see that people living with HIV/AIDS are strong, proud, active members of their communities.” Continue reading “Peace Corps Volunteer Spreads Hope and Education Through HIV/AIDS Prevention”

Minnesota Native Starts Business After Peace Corps Service

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As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, Kelsey Bigbee, 26, spent more than two years encouraging healthy lifestyle habits among her community. But there was one practice that stuck with the Minnesota native: the use of the moringa powder.

Stemming from the moringa oleifera tree, the powder contains more than 90 nutrients and reaps a number of powerful health benefits, such as helping to reduce the symptoms in diabetes patients and helping the liver, brain, and heart. After witnessing some of its benefits for herself, Bigbee decided to start her own business selling moringa powder in the U.S. after she completed her Peace Corps service in October 2015.   Continue reading “Minnesota Native Starts Business After Peace Corps Service”

Ottertail, Minn., resident begins Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic

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Jessica Spanswick (left) with her sister, Andrea Marthaler

Jessica Spanswick, 26, of Ottertail, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for the Dominican Republic on March 1 to begin training as a community economic development volunteer. Spanswick will live and work at the community level to help Dominican communities increase sustainable economic development opportunities. She will provide business management assistance in marketing, product and service development, and customer service.

Spanswick’s passion for service and desire to work in international development led her to the Peace Corps.  “I learned that I have a passion for helping people realize their potential,” she said.  “The joy I experienced when a tutee celebrated an A on her writing assignment, the pride I felt when someone mastered the math exercise — these feelings of ‘Wow, I love helping people succeed’ — became a guiding principle in my life after college.”

Continue reading “Ottertail, Minn., resident begins Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic”

Peace Corps volunteer educates Tanzanian students through open discussion

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Dating is not something that students in the rural villages of Tanzania would confess to doing; often times admitting so could lead to expulsion or a beating by an adult. Asking questions about sex is off-limits as well, but from her classroom in Tanzania, Peace Corps volunteer Steph Wester challenged these restrictions and fostered openness during her two years of international service.

“To end every class, I told the students that they could ask me anything they wanted about sex,” Wester said. “‘I’m not going to hit you, I’m not going to tell anyone,’ I would say.” Continue reading “Peace Corps volunteer educates Tanzanian students through open discussion”

University of Minnesota moves to No. 3 on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list

Krista Krauss is serving in Guatemala as a maternal and child health volunteer. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2011.
Krista Krauss is serving in Guatemala as a maternal and child health volunteer. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2013.

CHICAGO – The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN) has moved up on Peace Corps’ annual Top Colleges list, claiming the No. 3 spot among large universities, the agency announced today. Currently, there are 59 Minnesota graduates serving abroad.

This year marks the university’s 16th appearance on the annual list. In 2014, UMN jumped 10 spots to No. 10, and last year it moved up to fifth place.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 1,502 alums have served overseas, making the UMN the No. 19 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers. Continue reading “University of Minnesota moves to No. 3 on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list”