In 1961, the year Peace Corps was formed, I was 10 years old when I heard President John F. Kennedy’s State of the Union address on TV. This was a really big deal to my family, because I was raised Catholic. I clearly remember watching the show, and hearing his famous remark: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.“
I was hooked. I wanted to join Peace Corps.
But the wait was long. I did not pursue a 4-year college degree due to family finances. I started my own family, then a career or two. And I never forgot my dream. I twice started to fill out application forms (in the pre-online days), but the timing wasn’t right. Finally, in 2003 a window of opportunity opened, I had “life experience” as a valid college substitute, and I submitted my application. In 2004 I served for 2-1/2 years in Ghana, working in the Environment sector, helping farmers develop their tree nursery businesses. It was a life-altering experience.
When I returned to the US, I fast-tracked my college BS in International Relations while recovering from some anti-malarial medication health issues and also working part-time. Finally, I had my degree, at age 60!
I decided to go out again, and in February 2016 I arrived in this country of Georgia, where I am working in the Individual and Organization Development sector. My organization does environmental work around climate change, energy efficiency, alternative energy, and more. I will be here for one year.
I am living the Peace Corps Dream!