Iowa City Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas in 2016

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Today, Peace Corps announced that Iowa City, Iowa ranks No. 10 among metropolitan areas with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per 100,000 residents. There are 10 volunteers from Iowa City currently serving worldwide, and 2,388 Hawkeyes have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961.

“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 second straight year Iowa City has ranked among the top 10 metropolitan areas. Iowa City volunteers 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 “Iowa City Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas in 2016”

Grinnell College earns a spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list

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Justin Miller (center) graduated from Grinnell College in May 2012. He is currently serving as an education volunteer in Burkina Faso.

CHICAGO –Grinnell College has once again earned a spot on the Peace Corps’ annual Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, coming in at No. 23 among small universities, the agency announced today. Currently, eight Grinnell graduates are making a difference around the world as volunteers.

For the past four consecutive years, Grinnell has made it on the annual list. Since the agency was created in 1961, 375 alums have served overseas.

“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.” Continue reading “Grinnell College earns a spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list”

Peace Corps runs in the family for daughter, mother, grandmother

Janet Pershing, Jan Larsen and Abby Pershing
Janet Pershing, Jan Larsen and Abby Pershing

As a kid, Abby Pershing thought she had the coolest mom. She grew up listening to her mother, Janet (Larsen) Pershing, speak Bambara, which sounded like secret-agent talk to Abby but is actually a language of Mali, where Janet served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1983-85.

Through her mother’s words and photos, Peace Corps seemed like a grand adventure, but Abby was able to see life as a volunteer up close when she visited her grandmother in Burkina Faso. Inspired by her daughter Janet, Jan Larsen also made a difference as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, serving from 2010-12.

In February, Abby, of Rockville, Md., will follow in both of their footsteps and begin her own Peace Corps service in Senegal.

“I received my invitation to serve while on a trip with my grandmother, so she was the first to find out,” said Abby, who graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and public policy. “It was really special to share that with her. She is so excited that I am joining the Peace Corps, particularly given that Burkina Faso and Senegal are both in West Africa.” Continue reading “Peace Corps runs in the family for daughter, mother, grandmother”

College of Saint Benedict earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings

CSB alum Elizabeth Hauth of Springfield, Minn., served as education volunteer in Burkina Faso from June 2011 to September 2013.
CSB alum Elizabeth Hauth of Springfield, Minn., served as education volunteer in Burkina Faso from June 2011 to September 2013.

CHICAGO – For the second year in a row, the College of Saint Benedict earned a spot on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top 25 volunteer-producing small colleges and universities across the country. The school ranks No. 20 with nine graduates currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 145 St. Ben’s graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers. Continue reading “College of Saint Benedict earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings”

Decatur, Ill., native joins Peace Corps to help as many people as possible

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Briana Mingus, 22, of Decatur, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Burkina Faso Jan. 10 to begin training as a health extension volunteer. Mingus will live and work at the community level to make a difference raising awareness about the need for health education, specifically regarding to maternal and child health, nutrition, oral re-hydration therapy, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

“My motivation for joining the Peace Corps was to help as many people as I can, see new places, and have new adventures,” Mingus said. Continue reading “Decatur, Ill., native joins Peace Corps to help as many people as possible”

Michigan resident promoted gender equality as a Peace Corps volunteer

Inspired by the widespread success of Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World), Peace Corps volunteers in Burkina Faso have been organizing Camp G2LOW (Girls and Guys Leading Our World) to teach both girls and boys about gender equality. At the most recent Camp G2LOW, more than 60 secondary school students came together for two weeks from four different cities across Burkina Faso.

“Our goal through the camps is to teach male youth the value of working with women as equals,” said recently returned Peace Corps volunteer Sara Goodman, of Huntington Woods, Mich., who helped organize the past two G2LOW camps.

During the camps, students learn about healthy relationships and gender attitudes and discuss their roles and responsibilities. The most recent camp included educational sessions on proper hygiene habits, healthy lifestyle practices, critical thinking and decision-making, ending domestic violence, and the importance of working together to accomplish goals. The camp culminated with educational skits, campfire activities, and a cultural night with dancing to American and Burkinabe music. Continue reading “Michigan resident promoted gender equality as a Peace Corps volunteer”

Burkina Faso Peace Corps volunteer helps women improve their lives with community garden

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Amber Garlock is a business development volunteer in Burkina Faso. A native of Lima, Ohio, and graduate of Ohio State University, Garlock makes a difference helping women build and maintain a community garden that improves their income and nutrition. Below, Garlock explains the project and how it is has impacted lives in her community.

Eighteen members of the women’s association Groupment Song-Taaba of Linoghin, Burkina Faso, requested Peace Corps assistance in creating a new income generating activity to increase their financial independence and raise money for themselves and their families. After we conducted a needs assessment during my first three months in service, the association decided to establish a communal garden in the dry season. The garden focused on two main issues: to provide revenue for the participants and to provide better access to nutritious vegetables. Continue reading “Burkina Faso Peace Corps volunteer helps women improve their lives with community garden”