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”

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”

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”

UMN grad student prospers as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter

Frieda M. von Qualen followed her heart when she joined the Peace Corps to work as a water, sanitation, and hygiene volunteer in Peru from 2008-11. This year, she continues her second year as a graduate student and as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
Frieda M. von Qualen followed her heart when she joined the Peace Corps to work as a water, sanitation and hygiene volunteer in Peru from 2008-11. This year she continues her role as the          on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Frieda M. von Qualen was following her natural instincts when she joined the Peace Corps seven years ago. Yet, four years after the completion of her Peace Corps service in Peru, von Qualen continues to give back, sharing her wisdom with students as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

“It has been such a delight recruiting UMN students for the Peace Corps!” said von Qualen who worked as the on-campus recruiter last year. “I am always impressed with the diversity of experiences of students who come to speak with me. The university feels like a microcosm of exactly what Peace Corps aims to do – send volunteers abroad who represent the diversity we enjoy regularly at this campus and in the U.S.” Continue reading “UMN grad student prospers as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter”

Minneapolis native begins Peace Corps service in Guatemala

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Andrew McInnis, 31, of Minneapolis has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Guatemala on Sept. 22 to begin training as a youth promoter volunteer for the Integrated Youth Development project. McInnis will live and work at the community level to empower Guatemalan youth to live robust lifestyles by helping them make healthy decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health and substance abuse. He will also collaborate with key adults within the community to further support the needs of the youth.

“I joined the Peace Corps because helping is my nature,” said McInnis. “Whether it’s advocating for homeless youth, creating a platform for artists, fixing bicycles, or simply using humor to lighten the mood, I want to help. This is who I am, wherever I am. Peace Corps is a natural step both personally and professionally.” Continue reading “Minneapolis native begins Peace Corps service in Guatemala”

Savage, Minn., native begins Peace Corps service in Senegal

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Nathan Vikeras, 21, of Savage, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Senegal on Sept. 26 to begin training as an agroforestry extension volunteer. Vikeras will live and work at the community level to assist local farmers in acquiring the technical skills that are necessary to build their own tree nurseries. He will also facilitate training events and one-on-one demonstrations for other local farmers and community members.

“My main goal is to make a real difference in the community that I work in,” Vikeras said. Continue reading “Savage, Minn., native begins Peace Corps service in Senegal”