Discrimination in the Dominican Republic empowers Peace Corps volunteer

Self Love

Deandra Bass’ counterparts warned her not to dip into the hot Dominican sun: “It will make your skin too dark,” they offered. They made those comments not out of malice or discrimination, but out of love and protection.  As an African-American Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, Bass could blend in with her local community – for the most part. But at times, she danced with the color line, causing some to question if her skin was not of Dominican decent, but of Haitian. This ambiguity exposed her to an ongoing political struggle that was bigger than her.

“Some volunteers were asked to get off buses and not allowed to travel because they were dark-skinned and looked Haitian,” said Bass, who served from 2012-15. “I once was questioned for my identification to prove I was not Haitian. Luckily, I had the support of fellow volunteers who advocated on my behalf and, fortunately, I was not asked to leave the bus.” Continue reading “Discrimination in the Dominican Republic empowers Peace Corps volunteer”

Green Bay ranks No. 10 on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas Per Capita in 2015

Kimberly Hyden is a native of Green Bay, Wis., and a currently serving volunteer in the East Caribbean.
Kimberly Hyden is a native of Green Bay, Wis., and a currently serving volunteer in the East Caribbean.

CHICAGO –Green Bay, Wis., ranks 10th on Peace Corps’ list of the top volunteer-producing metro areas per capita in 2015, the agency announced today. With 18 residents currently serving worldwide, Green Bay generated 5.72 Peace Corps volunteers for every 100,000 residents. By comparison, the state of Wisconsin produced 3.4 Peace Corps volunteers per capita.

Volunteers hailing from Green Bay 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 the agency was founded by President John F. Kennedy. Since 1961, 6,049 Wisconsin residents have served as Peace Corps volunteers, with 197 currently in the field.   Continue reading “Green Bay ranks No. 10 on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas Per Capita in 2015”

Columbia ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas Per Capita in 2015

Alan Strathman lived in Colubmia, Mo., for 25 years before beginning his Peace Corps service in the East Caribbean.
Alan Strathman lived in Colubmia, Mo., for 25 years before beginning his Peace Corps service in the East Caribbean.

CHICAGO –  Columbia, Mo., ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ list of the top volunteer-producing metro areas per capita in 2015, the agency announced today. With 12 residents currently serving worldwide, Columbia generated 6.95 Peace Corps volunteers for every 100,000 residents in 2015. By comparison, the state of Missouri produced 2.3 Peace Corps volunteers per capita.

Volunteers hailing from Columbia 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 the agency was founded by President John F. Kennedy. Since 1961, 3,344 Missouri residents have served as Peace Corps volunteers, with 141 currently in the field.   Continue reading “Columbia ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas Per Capita in 2015”

OSU Peace Corps recruiter brings wisdom to campus

Gail Messick (center) served as a public health dental hygienist in St. Lucia from 1976-78. She served again in Swaziland from 2010-14. Now she is the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at The Ohio State University.
Gail Messick (center) served as a public health dental hygienist in St. Lucia from 1976-78. She served again in Swaziland from 2010-14 as a health volunteer. Now she is the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at The Ohio State University.

This year, students at The Ohio State University can take advantage of a new on-campus Peace Corps recruiter, Gail Messick, who has served in the Peace Corps not once – but twice. As the new recruiter on campus, she hopes to share her service experiences with interested students considering a similar path.

Messick and her husband, Mike Messick, served in St. Lucia in the East Caribbean from 1976-78. She worked as a public health dental hygienist and promoted dental health in schools and in the surrounding community while Mike worked as a business advisor and helped initiate marketing plans for the handicraft industry. Continue reading “OSU Peace Corps recruiter brings wisdom to campus”

Minnesota resident chooses Peace Corps for its longer assignment, chance for better integration

Janlle Holte, center, pictured with her father Jim, mother Sandy, brother Brian and sister Emily at Janelle's May graduation from Augsburg College.
Janelle Holte, center, pictured with her father Jim, mother Sandy, brother Brian and sister Emily at Janelle’s graduation from Augsburg College in May 2014.

Janelle Holte, 23, of Aitkin, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Jamaica March 9 to begin training as an agriculture extension volunteer. Holte will make a difference working with her community to identify resources and agriculture projects that can be developed and implemented to generate income. She will also facilitate training in farm management and work with schools to enhance and expand environmental education.

“I love that Peace Corps is a 27-month program versus just one year,” Holte said. “This way I will really be able to immerse myself in the culture and become fluent in the language. I also love the volunteer support network in many major cities in the U.S. and the connections you have after returning home.” Continue reading “Minnesota resident chooses Peace Corps for its longer assignment, chance for better integration”

Iowa native departs for Peace Corps Jamaica

Bramel.Alec_Jamaica

Alec Bramel, 22, of Holy Cross, Iowa, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Jamaica March 9 to begin training as an agriculture extension volunteer. Bramel will make a difference working with his community to identify resources and agriculture projects that can be developed and implemented to generate income. He will also facilitate training in farm management and work with schools to enhance and expand environmental education.

“I joined the Peace Corps because of the sense of adventure and the opportunity to use my education to serve others where it may be needed most,” Bramel said. Continue reading “Iowa native departs for Peace Corps Jamaica”

WIU grad strives to make an impact as Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica

McClellan_Kevin.Jamaica

Kevin McClellan, 22, of Tinley Park, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Jamaica March 9 to begin training as an English education volunteer. McClellan will make a difference teaching English to children ages 12 and younger and will work to expand literacy in both school children and community members to increase personal and professional opportunities.

“The reason I decided to join the Peace Corps was because I want to make in impact on this world one child at a time,” McClellan said. “I realize that international work is not glamorous and I will be faced with many hardships during my commitment overseas, but knowing that I am impacting lives will help overcome those struggles.” Continue reading “WIU grad strives to make an impact as Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica”