Madison Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metropolitan Areas in 2016

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Today, Peace Corps announced that Madison, Wisconsin ranks No. 8 among metropolitan areas with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers. There are 40 volunteers from Madison and 199 volunteers from Wisconsin currently serving worldwide. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, 6,160 Wisconsinites 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,” Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “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.”

Madison made a significant 12-spot climb from last year’s rankings. For the past three years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison occupied the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the top volunteer-producing universities in the country. Wisconsin volunteers are among the more than 220,000 Americans who have served around the world as agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development volunteers since 1961.  Continue reading “Madison Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metropolitan Areas in 2016”

Peace Corps Holidays

Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows Volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. Below, we highlight stories from Peace Corps Volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas. From one Peace Corps Volunteer to another, these Volunteers share their advice to those embarking on their first festive season in service.

Attend our Holidays Away From Home online event Monday, December 19th to hear more about serving overseas during the holiday season. 

Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays”

Henderson, Kentucky, Native Begins Peace Corps Service in Namibia

Kurtz_NamibiaName: Richard Kurtz

City: Henderson, Kentucky

School: University of Southern Indiana

Major: Computer Science

Richard Kurtz, 34, of Henderson, Kentucky, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Namibia on August 18 to begin training as a secondary education mathematics teacher. Kurtz will work at the community level to teach math at the primary, secondary and high schools. He will also assist the schools in providing extra-curricular activities for students and work on community secondary projects.

“The moment I received my invitation, I had to sit down for a few minutes,” Kurtz said. “I had been waiting for months to hear if I would be one of the few chosen to go and the moment had arrived.I was finally able to feel what I had been wondering about for what seemed like forever – the joy of success. It was like an explosion of relief, happiness and excitement blew up inside of me.” Continue reading “Henderson, Kentucky, Native Begins Peace Corps Service in Namibia”

Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Namibia

SchmidtName: Dana Schmidt

City: Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

School: University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Major: Human biology

Dana Schmidt, 28, of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Namibia on August 18 to begin training as a science education Volunteer. Schmidt will work at the community level to teach in classrooms with limited resources at the primary, middle and high school level. Schmidt will also work to engage her students and community members in extracurricular activities.

“I was delighted when I got the invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer,” Schmidt said. “I’m ecstatic to be given the opportunity to check off one of my life long goals. The motivation to join the Peace Corps started in high school when a Peace Corps recruiter had a booth with information. The opportunity to travel and meet new people, as well as learn about new cultures and languages, interested me to pursue the Peace Corps.” Continue reading “Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Namibia”

Michigan City, Indiana, Resident Selected For Peace Corps Service

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Name: Riley Holkan

Hometown: Michigan City, Indiana

College: Ball State University

Major: Pre-Med

Riley Holkan, 23, of Michigan City, Indiana, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Namibia on August 16 to begin training as a secondary education science teacher. Holkan will work at the community level to teach science at the primary, secondary and high schools. He will also assist the schools in providing extra-curricular activities for students and work on community secondary projects.

“When I found out that I was accepted to the Peace Corps, I felt as if a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders,” Holkan said. “During your senior year of college there is this immense pressure to have your life planned and to be ready to hit the ground running after graduation. I knew I wanted a unique experience, one that challenged me every day, rather than jumping right into graduate school coursework, thus I applied.” Continue reading “Michigan City, Indiana, Resident Selected For Peace Corps Service”

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”

Grinnell College makes big jump on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings

Grinnell alum Sachiko Graber, pictured with some of her students, makes a difference as an education volunteer in Namibia.
Grinnell alum Sachiko Graber makes a difference as an education volunteer in Namibia.

CHICAGO – For the third year in a row, Grinnell College has earned a spot on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. Moving up 11 places, Grinnell ranks No. 10 among small schools nationwide with 11 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 374 Grinnell graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers. Continue reading “Grinnell College makes big jump on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings”