From Peace Corps Volunteer To Professor

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When Dr. Kristin Hedges left for Kenya to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer, she thought she was going to save the world. Looking back sixteen years later, she had it backwards.

Through finding herself, living in a new community and making lifelong friendships, it was Peace Corps that saved her. Continue reading “From Peace Corps Volunteer To Professor”

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”

The journey home: Indiana retiree returns to Peace Corps 37 years later

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Lynne Newlon launched her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland when she was 21. After retiring thirty-seven years later, Newlon is returning to the Peace Corps and will serve in a South African community less than two hours from where she served in 1979.

At her retirement party, Lynne Newlon thought she was saying goodbye to her 30-year career in public service. For her, retirement meant more time at home with family and friends and finally tackling the stubborn home projects she had put off for years.

But plans change. Less than a year after retiring, the Indiana native will depart for South Africa on May 7 to serve in the Peace Corps – for the second time– and she couldn’t be more excited. Continue reading “The journey home: Indiana retiree returns to Peace Corps 37 years later”

University of Illinois earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list

Hillary Seely •Served in The Gambia as an agriculture and environmental volunteer from 2011-2013.
Hilary Antosh served in The Gambia as an agriculture and environmental volunteer from 2011-2013. She graduated from Illinois in 2007.

CHICAGO – For the 16th consecutive year, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has earned a spot on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, the agency announced today. Currently, 35 Illinois alumni are serving as Peace Corps volunteers, putting the university at No. 16 on the 2016 list, up four spots from last year.

The University of Illinois is the No. 7 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers, with 2,026 graduates having served since the agency was created in 1961.

“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 “University of Illinois earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list”

David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.

Facing challenges in Africa, volunteer embraced opportunity to be more conscious of his identity

David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.
David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.

As an African-American Peace Corps volunteer, David Goodloe had a lot of superficial notions about what going to Africa for the first time would mean. He imagined a vivid Hollywood-like scene: walking off the plane and being greeted with “Welcome home,” or “It’s so good to have you back.”

But upon arriving in Benin, Africa for his Peace Corps service, he quickly realized that the romanticized vision was not reality. Perhaps the hardest lesson Goodloe had to learn was that he didn’t fit in just because he shared the same skin tone as others in his village.   Continue reading “Facing challenges in Africa, volunteer embraced opportunity to be more conscious of his identity”

Peace Corps volunteer’s tips on getting into Peace Corps

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On Ian Walker’s second attempt at applying to Peace Corps, he was nervous and unsure he would get in. The Sheridan, Ill., native knew the process was competitive, but volunteering was his dream and he couldn’t give up after one try.

It’s good he didn’t. Walker was invited to serve in Peace Corps Zambia and departed on Feb. 8 to begin training as a rural aquaculture promotion volunteer.

“I re-applied to Peace Corps because I really wanted to participate in it. I did not think I was rejected for reasons that I could not change, I thought it was simply I did not have enough experience,” Walker said. “I probably would have continued to re-apply had I not been accepted the second time.” Continue reading “Peace Corps volunteer’s tips on getting into Peace Corps”

College sweethearts depart for Peace Corps Zambia

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Madeline Haupert and Chaz Parker-Alof met as students at the University of San Francisco in an environmental studies class their sophomore year. Throughout the years, their relationship blossomed through the highs and lows of any college relationship. But on Feb. 8 Madeline will face one of the biggest challenges of her life: departing for Peace Corps Zambia with her boyfriend Chaz.

“Serving as a couple in the Peace Corps will likely bring both incredible building experiences as well as a multitude of hardships,” said Madeline. “I feel as though Chaz and I will benefit from having one another to process things with and I look forward to growing as a couple through shared experiences and then bringing those experiences back to the U.S. after service. Having undergone our service together, I suspect we will understand one another on a deeper level.” Continue reading “College sweethearts depart for Peace Corps Zambia”