Why serving in the Peace Corps isn’t putting your career on hold

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Heather Mangan, center, served in Peace Corps Lesotho, from 2011-13.

I couldn’t do Peace Corps because I had student loans. I couldn’t do Peace Corps because it would break my mother’s heart to leave for two years. I couldn’t do Peace Corps because I was on a career path and volunteering would certainly disrupt my professional climb.

These are all reasons I justified not applying to the Peace Corps when I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2007. Instead, I took a reporting job at a small daily newspaper and began living the typical American life with bills, a time card, and not enough vacation time.

The whim to join the Peace Corps, which came to me one night while procrastinating on my French homework, didn’t perish after I entered the work force. Rather, it bloomed into a full life goal. All those reasons I had used to convince myself that Peace Corps wasn’t for me could no longer overcome this picture I had in my head of being at the end of my life and not having experienced the Peace Corps. That imagined regret motivated me to apply. Continue reading “Why serving in the Peace Corps isn’t putting your career on hold”

Peace Corps Prep students at Wittenberg University pack, send nutritional meals to malnourished orphans in Lesotho

Wittenberg students work on building a house in Lesotho.
Wittenberg students work on building a house in Lesotho.

Led by their professor who himself served as a Peace Corps volunteer, students in Wittenberg University’s Peace Corps Preparatory Program are using their skills and commitment to service to make a difference in the lives of children in the southern African nation of Lesotho.

A dozen Wittenberg students, half of them enrolled in the Peace Corps Prep program, are partnering with the non-profits Pack Away Hunger and Touching Tiny Lives to feed 3,000 malnourished children in Lesotho for three years. To launch the project, Wittenberg is hosting its first packing event Nov. 14 to prepare 60,000 meals in two hours, said Dr. Scott Rosenberg, who is Wittenberg’s Peace Corps Prep chair and a professor of African history. Continue reading “Peace Corps Prep students at Wittenberg University pack, send nutritional meals to malnourished orphans in Lesotho”

Love and Peace Corps: Kevin & Caitlin

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The Peace Corps experience changes volunteers’ lives. It launches their career or redirects it. It jam packs monumental lessons into two years and opens volunteers’ perspective to the world. And, for some, it leads them to love. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we bring you a series of stories from returned volunteers who found love through the Peace Corps. 

Couple: Caitlin Fisher and Kevin Koryto
Service: They both served as education volunteers in Lesotho, from 2011-13.
Hometowns: Caitlin is from Okemos, Mich., and Kevin is from East Lansing, Mich. Caitlin is currently pursuing a product development master’s from Carnegie Mellon University and Kevin is earning a master’s in biological and agricultural engineering at North Carolina State University.
Their story: Caitlin Fisher and Kevin Koryto come from similar backgrounds. They attended high school five miles from each other in the East Lansing, Mich., area and then attended rival universities – Kevin at Michigan State University and Caitlin at University of Michigan. Continue reading “Love and Peace Corps: Kevin & Caitlin”

Peace Corps service confirms UW-Madison graduate’s calling for teaching

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Zoe Schroeder always had the inclination that she should be a teacher. Being a Peace Corps volunteer, though, confirmed that teaching is her true calling.

Schroeder, a native of Washington, D.C., completed her two-year Peace Corps service in November and returned to Madison, Wis. She went to Lesotho in 2012 after earning a bachelor’s degree in geography and Spanish with a certificate in European studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“It had always been a dream of mine to join Peace Corps since I first heard of the program in middle school,” she said. “My friend’s mom was a volunteer in the 1970s, and it sounded like such an adventure.” Continue reading “Peace Corps service confirms UW-Madison graduate’s calling for teaching”

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”

Video: Bike donation project has been a great ride for Illinois returned Peace Corps volunteer

Returned Peace Corps volunteer Dave Gorman now works for the Public Works Department of the Village of Lombard in the Western suburbs of Chicago, but his ties to Lesotho, where he served more than 20 years ago, remain strong. He’s visited the country three times since completing service, most recently in the summer of 2013 to bike 350 miles across the country. Gorman is also committed to sharing his passion for cycling with the children of Lesotho. In this video, he talks about his “Bikes for Lesotho” project, which has sent more than 1,000 bicycles to kids there, and how Peace Corps continues to make a difference in his life.

The Chicago Tribune featured Gorman’s project in a February 2013 article. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/BikesForLesotho.

Mt. Morris, Mich., resident begins Peace Corps service in Lesotho

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With the Peace Corps Master’s International program, Jessica Detrio is achieving two of her goals at the same time. The Mt. Morris, Mich., native is earning her master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (U-M) and completing 27 months of international Peace Corps service simultaneously. She departs June 6 to begin making a difference as an urban youth development volunteer in Lesotho.

Detrio will teach basic business skills, life skills, HIV/AIDS prevention, and health education, in addition to preparing youth for the world of work. Her volunteer service will align well with her master’s degree, which is also focused on youth and families.

“Peace Corps had always been a dream of mine, but finding out I could participate while also getting a graduate degree made the decision to do it now much easier,” Detrio, 26, said. Continue reading “Mt. Morris, Mich., resident begins Peace Corps service in Lesotho”