San Antonio, Texas, Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Peru

Richardson_PeruName: Natasha Richardson

City: San Antonio, Texas

School: Stephen F. Austin State University & St. Mary’s University

Major: Sociology & clinical mental health counseling

Natasha Richardson, 27, of San Antonio, Texas, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for Peru on August 15 to begin training as a youth and development Volunteer. Tracy will work on healthy lifestyle development, building employability skills and parent-engagement within her community. Richardson will also work with key leaders to develop workshops, trainings and activities to educate the community about important topics.

“I am confident that this service is way bigger than me,” Richardson said. “The moment that I received my initial acceptance was surreal and very emotional – I experienced every emotion all at once. Receiving the news after going through the almost year-long process, while continuing my faith and preparation through different challenges, was definitely confirmation that I was right where I should be.”  Continue reading “San Antonio, Texas, Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Peru”

Creating healthy homes: Illinois native inspires families in Peru to adopt healthy behaviors

KHanson PC4When Kate Hanson, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru, began planning her Healthy Homes project, meant to improve general health throughout her community, she anticipated participation from the families to wane throughout its eight-week duration. Other volunteers who had done similar projects told her many families lose motivation after a few weeks, with sometimes less than half completing the program.

However, Kate started with 54 families and ended with 54 families.

“When I look back on my service, the Healthy Homes project is definitely the project I am most proud of,” said Hanson, 25. “I think it speaks to the incredible team I was working with and the families themselves.” Continue reading “Creating healthy homes: Illinois native inspires families in Peru to adopt healthy behaviors”

UMN grad student prospers as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter

Frieda M. von Qualen followed her heart when she joined the Peace Corps to work as a water, sanitation, and hygiene volunteer in Peru from 2008-11. This year, she continues her second year as a graduate student and as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
Frieda M. von Qualen followed her heart when she joined the Peace Corps to work as a water, sanitation and hygiene volunteer in Peru from 2008-11. This year she continues her role as the          on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Frieda M. von Qualen was following her natural instincts when she joined the Peace Corps seven years ago. Yet, four years after the completion of her Peace Corps service in Peru, von Qualen continues to give back, sharing her wisdom with students as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

“It has been such a delight recruiting UMN students for the Peace Corps!” said von Qualen who worked as the on-campus recruiter last year. “I am always impressed with the diversity of experiences of students who come to speak with me. The university feels like a microcosm of exactly what Peace Corps aims to do – send volunteers abroad who represent the diversity we enjoy regularly at this campus and in the U.S.” Continue reading “UMN grad student prospers as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter”

Notre Dame, UT alums root for their teams from Peace Corps Peru

Matt Keenan is a 2013 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a current Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. He is pictured, left, with a man in his local community that he spotted wearing a Notre Dame jacket.
Matt Keenan is a 2013 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a current Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. He is pictured, left, with a man in his local community that he spotted wearing a Notre Dame jacket.

In honor of this weekend’s season opener between the University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas – two schools that are Peace Corps powerhouses as well as football powerhouses – we’re highlighting two alumni fans who are far from home but keeping school pride in their hearts. Matt Keenan, Notre Dame ’13, and Brittany McGee, UT ’11, are currently making a difference as Peace Corps volunteers in Peru. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less excited about the upcoming game – the first time UT and Notre Dame have played since 1996.

“I am a huge college football fan!” Keenan said. “Growing up in South Bend there was a stretch of 13 years where I never missed a home Notre Dame game. Missing games is one of the toughest things about the Peace Corps for me.” Continue reading “Notre Dame, UT alums root for their teams from Peace Corps Peru”

South Milwaukee native seeks to find home in Peace Corps Peru

Kurstin Mazzoni with her mother, Christine Chavez-Mazzoni.
Kurstin Mazzoni with her mother, Christine Chavez-Mazzoni.

Kurstin Mazzoni, 23, of South Milwaukee, Wis., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Peru Aug. 18 to begin training as an urban youth development volunteer. Mazzoni will live and work at the community level to support teachers and parents in understanding and approaching youth in Peru. Additionally, she will help youth improve their self-esteem, life skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, vocational skills, educational achievement, and community involvement.

“I’ve always had the desire to volunteer on an international basis,” Mazzoni said. “Since middle school, I’ve been saying I would join the Peace Corps and it’s finally happening. As a social worker, it’s always been my passion to advocate and support communities in need.” Continue reading “South Milwaukee native seeks to find home in Peace Corps Peru”

Hickory Hills, Ill., native begins Peace Corps service in Peru

Olvera.Ayle_Peru
Ayle Olvera, with sister Michelle and parents Indalecio and Patricia

 

Ayle Olvera, 26, of Hickory Hills, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for Peru May 6 to begin training as a community economic development volunteer. Olvera will live and work at the community level training and advising entrepreneurs and managers in business planning, marketing, financial management and product design.

“As a first-generation American, I know I am more than fortunate in my education and upbringing,” Olvera said. “The Peace Corps is just a small way to give back to the greater good of the world.” Continue reading “Hickory Hills, Ill., native begins Peace Corps service in Peru”

Eagan, Minn., resident begins Peace Corps service in Peru

Casurella.Jon_Peru

Jon Casurella, 22, of Eagan, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for Peru May 6 to begin training as a community economic development volunteer. Casurella will live and work at the community level training and advising entrepreneurs and managers in business planning, marketing, financial management and product design.

“I joined Peace Corps for many reasons,” Casurella said. “I want to help people in true need and do what I can to help improve the local economy. I hope to gain a better understanding of global poverty and how to combat it.” Continue reading “Eagan, Minn., resident begins Peace Corps service in Peru”