Springfield, Mo., couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

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Eric Hillgren, 30, his wife Katie Hillgren, 29, of Springfield, Mo., have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteers. The Hillgrens will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. They will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“My husband and I have been talking about the Peace Corps since college,” Katie Hillgren said. “We have always wanted the opportunity to live and work overseas and experience life in new ways.” Continue reading “Springfield, Mo., couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji”

Clinton, Mo., couple prepares to serve in Peace Corps Ethiopia

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Jane Johannsen, 26, and her husband, Trevor Johannsen, 27, of Clinton, Mo., have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Ethiopia Jan. 12 to begin training as environmental volunteers. They will live and work at the community level to make a difference organizing and facilitating environmental projects, such as establishing and maintaining soil and water conservation structures and practices, fruit tree production, fish cultivation, raising trees in small nurseries, apiculture and honey production, livestock health, meat and wool production, range management, vegetable gardening and nutrition education.

“I distinctly remember first being attracted to the idea of the Peace Corps, while watching a documentary on African schools and culture when I was about 5 or 6 years old,” Jane said. “Now, I feel that both my husband and I have reached the point where our work experience and timing has opened a window of opportunity to serve.” Continue reading “Clinton, Mo., couple prepares to serve in Peace Corps Ethiopia”

Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Joe Zucchini

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Name: Joe Zucchini
Country of Service: Micronesia, 1990-92; Zambia 1997-99
Assignment: Education; Water/Sanitation
Recruitment Territory: St. Louis, Mo. Continue reading “Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Joe Zucchini”

St. Peters, Mo., resident begins Peace Corps service in the Kyrgyz Republic

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Amanda Franklyn, 23, of St. Peters, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for the Kyrgyz Republic April 23 to begin training as an English education volunteer. Franklyn will live and work at the community level to make a difference by working with a local counterpart to teach conversational and content-based English while organizing community-based projects.

“Coming from the suburbs of St. Louis, I rarely had any interaction with the international community,” Franklyn said. “It wasn’t until I met my roommate from Zimbabwe and heard stories from her hometown in Harare that I realized the world is full of people with different perspectives on time, relationships, religion, and so much more.” Continue reading “St. Peters, Mo., resident begins Peace Corps service in the Kyrgyz Republic”

Parkville, Mo., Peace Corps volunteer teaches about importance of oral hygiene in Belize

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Peace Corps volunteer Abbey Hedges and returned volunteer Gayla Missett, alongside the children who received toothbrushes and instruction on oral hygiene in Belize.

Parkville, Mo., resident and Peace Corps volunteer Abbey Hedges worked with a nonprofit organization to lead an oral-health campaign with students in her local community in Belize.

About 145 students and six teachers participated in the three-day event, which was led by Hedges and Gayla Missett of Carlsbad, Calif., who served herself as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize from 2010-12. Missett now works with the Rural Area Kids Organization U.S.A., which coordinates the “Don’t Rush the Brush” oral hygiene campaign for children in rural communities around the world. Continue reading “Parkville, Mo., Peace Corps volunteer teaches about importance of oral hygiene in Belize”

Parkville, Mo., resident begins Peace Corps service in Belize

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Abbey Hedges of Parkville, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Belize June 25 to begin service as a community health education volunteer. Hedges will make a difference educating community members about water sanitation, maternal care and child health, nutrition, noncommunicable disease mitigation, HIV/AIDS, and other health issues.

Like many Peace Corps volunteers, Hedges was inspired to serve by experiences at home. After giving back to the Kansas City community with organizations such as the Humane Society and American Red Cross for years in her free time, she decided to make volunteering her full-time job.

“I started to explore my options and attended a Peace Corps orientation session, and I instantly knew that this was my true calling!” Hedges, 27, said. “Ever since I left that session, not a minute has gone by without some thought of Peace Corps service.” Continue reading “Parkville, Mo., resident begins Peace Corps service in Belize”

Springfield, Mo., resident begins Peace Corps service in Kyrgyz Republic

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Hilary Montgomery, 26, of Springfield, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Kyrgyz Republic April 16 to begin training as an English education volunteer. Montgomery will make a difference working with university-level students to improve their English language skills.

Montgomery is the daughter of Harriet Feltz and Howard Yates and a 2004 graduate of West Plains High School in West Plains, Mo. She graduated from Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in English Literature.

“My college experience gave me the skills and the determination to join Peace Corps,” Montgomery said. “I was able to spend time around a lot of great people.” Continue reading “Springfield, Mo., resident begins Peace Corps service in Kyrgyz Republic”