Marysville, Ohio, Native Begins Peace Corps Service in Thailand

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Nathaniel Allen, 26, of Marysville, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Swaziland June 16 to begin training as a youth development Volunteer. Allen will work at the community level to empower Swazi youth to become leaders in the community, build vocational skills, and lead healthy lives. Allen will also work at schools throughout the community to build relationships with youth and key leaders.

“Once I got my Peace Corps invitation, I immediately sent a screen shot of the invitation to my best friends. The rest of the day, I had the biggest smile on my face,” Allen said. “It was a surreal moment – that moment when you say to yourself, ‘You’re actually going to be serving in the Peace Corps in Africa.’” Continue reading “Marysville, Ohio, Native Begins Peace Corps Service in Thailand”

The Greater Mission: LGBTQ Volunteer’s Impact In Peace Corps

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David Church knew what volunteering in Namibia as a Peace Corps Volunteer meant.

Due to cultural perceptions of gay men, he knew that he may not be able to tell his new community members and new friends that he was dating a man. He knew that he could not walk hand-in-hand in his village with someone of the same sex. When questions emerged about his life in the U.S., he knew that he may have to leave some things out.

But David, 39, is not defined by his sexuality, and the impact he hoped to have on his Namibian village trumped all. For the first time, David learned what it meant to truly be selfless.

“Sexuality, for me, is just a small part of what makes up who I am,” David said. “Well into my service, a friend said that what I was doing was more important than anything else I had done before. I realized that being out wasn’t as important to my Peace Corps goals as I had thought it might be. My Peace Corps experience was bigger than me.” Continue reading “The Greater Mission: LGBTQ Volunteer’s Impact In Peace Corps”

Avon Lake, Ohio native begins Peace Corps service in Paraguay

Julie Marzec, center, with her mother and sister.
Julie Marzec, center, with her mother and sister.

Julie Marzec, 25, of Avon Lake, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for Paraguay March 2 to begin training as a health extension volunteer. Marzec will live and work at the community to promote healthy behavior in schools and health centers. Her work will focus on improved dental health, prevention of non-communicable diseases, sexual and reproductive health and improved sanitary living conditions.

“Although I had been contemplating joining the Peace Corps for many years, I was motivated to apply after my experiences working in the Cincinnati area as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence,” Marzec said. “After working with so many immigrant women, I wanted to make an attempt to better understand their cultural values and unique experiences. I hope to bring that knowledge back to the U.S. and serve immigrant populations more effectively.” Continue reading “Avon Lake, Ohio native begins Peace Corps service in Paraguay”

Holidays in the Peace Corps, Part 3

Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, many volunteers celebrate the holidays in their host countries. Spending the holidays in another country allows volunteers to participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own.

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Jordan Hatcher, Peace Corps Volunteer
Senegal, Preventative Health Educator, 2012-14
Hometown: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Alma mater: University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012, International Studies and Spanish

While it can be tough being so far from home during the holidays, it’s also such a privilege. People always say the holidays are a time for giving. Being a part of the Peace Corps provides me with that opportunity every day, even if it’s something as small as cooking lunch with my host sister or playing with the kids in my village. The holidays always remind me what a unique life experience this is and how lucky I am to be a part of such a great organization.

Continue reading “Holidays in the Peace Corps, Part 3”

Ohio ranks No. 9 on Peace Corps’ annual list of top volunteer-producing states

Veronica Moermond, a native of Cincinnati, is currently serving as an education volunteer in Mongolia.
Veronica Moermond, a native of Cincinnati, is currently serving as an education volunteer in Mongolia.

Ohio again this year ranks among the top states for producing Peace Corps volunteers. With 237 residents currently serving overseas, Ohio is the No. 9 state for volunteers in 2014.

On the whole, Ohio produces two Peace Corps volunteers for every 100,000 state residents, and 3 percent of all volunteers come from Ohio.

Veronica Moermond, a native of Cincinnati, is currently serving as an education volunteer in Mongolia. She makes a difference training English teachers on teaching methodologies and helping them improve their English skills. She also leads two English clubs and uses games, songs and American culture to help group members learn English. Moermond, who graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s in English in 2006 and a master’s in education in 2010, found many like-minded Ohioans who valued service.

“The more I talked to people about the idea of joining Peace Corps, the more people I encountered who had done it or know someone who had,” she said. “This was great for me because I got to ask them a lot of questions regarding what it’s like to be a volunteer and what advice they would have for me if I were to join.”

Continue reading “Ohio ranks No. 9 on Peace Corps’ annual list of top volunteer-producing states”

Mother of two Peace Corps volunteers felt more pride than worry

Allie, Grant, Ann, Ben and Tom Comstock in Madagascar while visiting Allie who was a Peace Corps volunteer in the country, from 2005-07. Grant also became a Peace Corps volunteer, in Lesotho from 2010-12.
Allie, Grant, Ann, Ben and Tom Comstock in Madagascar while visiting Allie who was a Peace Corps volunteer in the country, from 2005-07. Grant also became a Peace Corps volunteer, in Lesotho from 2010-12.

Anne Comstock understands the mix of swelling pride and lingering worry that comes as the mother of a Peace Corps volunteer. But the Cincinnati-area resident didn’t just send one child off to serve in Africa for two years; she sent two.

Anne’s daughter, Allie, 31, served in Madagascar as a nutrition education volunteer from 2005-07,  and son Grant, 28, was a community health extension volunteer in Lesotho from 2010-12.

“I often get asked what we did as parents that resulted in two of our three kids volunteering for Peace Corps,” said Anne, who raised her children in Richmond, Va. “The answer is nothing; we just got very lucky. They are two of the best people I know.” Continue reading “Mother of two Peace Corps volunteers felt more pride than worry”

Mt. Orab, Ohio, resident begins Peace Corps service in Ethiopia

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Samantha Rhodes, 23, of Mt. Orab, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Ethiopia June 30 to begin training as a secondary education English teacher. Rhodes will live and work at the community level to make a difference by teaching conversational English and developing teaching materials with local teachers. Rhodes will also become involved in various community and school-based projects.

“I’ve always been interested in learning about other cultures, be it through reading or travelling,” Rhodes said. “I think we learn a lot through other people, and I think that understanding of others creates a more compassionate world.” Continue reading “Mt. Orab, Ohio, resident begins Peace Corps service in Ethiopia”