Philadelphia Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga

Leah Turner - Graduation
Philadelphia resident Leah Turner, who graduated from Boston University in May, will depart for Tonga on August 29 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Leah Turner, 23, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga on August 29 to begin training as an Education Volunteer. Leah will live and work in a community to teach English to elementary and middle school students in Tonga.

“I have always wanted to work for a grassroots organization, and I felt that the Peace Corps was the best way to get started,” said Leah of her desire to join the Peace Corps. “I also love the fact that I am helping not only to serve my community, but by doing this I am also serving the U.S.”

Leah is a graduate of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She then attended Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history in May 2016. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House and the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation.

During the first three months of her service, Leah will live with a host family in Tonga to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Leah will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Tonga, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

“I lived in New Zealand for six months and fell in love with life there in the South Pacific,” Leah said. “I am so excited to get to know both those who I’ll be serving with and those I’ll be teaching and living with.”

Leah will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Tonga and help Leah develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Turner joins the 286 Pennsylvania residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 8,049 Pennsylvania residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Click here to read more about the Peace Corps in Tonga.

Worcester Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga

Jocelyn Hill - Selfie
Worcester resident Jocelyn Hill will depart for Tonga on August 29 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Jocelyn Hill, 28, of Worcester, Vermont, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga on August 29 to begin training as an Education Volunteer. Hill will live and work in a community to support and teach local students alongside teachers in the English language.

“I applied to the Pacific Islands because I have always been attracted to the Polynesian culture,” said Jocelyn of her desire to join the Peace Corps. “I am looking forward to immersing myself in the Tongan culture and learning as much as I can about the people and children to be at humble service.”

Jocelyn is the daughter of Michele and Roger Hill and a graduate of U32 in East Montpelier, Vermont. After graduating from U32 in 2005, she moved to California and volunteered with AmeriCorps City Year to improve under-resourced communities and primary schools in East San Jose, California. She attended San Jose State University in San Jose, California, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development in 2010. Jocelyn later earned a master’s degree in education with a teaching credential in early childhood special education in June 2012 from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she taught three to five-year olds with autism in Santa Clara’s public school district for five years as well as supervised behavior therapy in the home and community in the San Jose area. She also served as a volunteer for the Special Olympics, respite care and in hospice care.

During the first three months of her service, Jocelyn will live with a host family in Tonga to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Jocelyn will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Tonga, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

Jocelyn will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Tonga and help Jocelyn develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Jocelyn joins the 52 Vermont residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 1,530 Vermont residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Vermont is the top Peace Corps Volunteer-producing state in the nation on a per capita basis. Fifty-two residents of the Green Mountain State are currently serving in the Peace Corps. In 2015, the Burlington-South Burlington metro area also ranked No. 3 nationally for per-capita production of Peace Corps volunteers, with 18 area residents serving overseas.

Click here to read more about the Peace Corps in Tonga.

Woodstock Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Mozambique

Nancy Holt
Woodstock resident Nancy E. Holt will depart for Mozambique on August 30 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Nancy E. Holt, 21, of Woodstock, Maryland, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Mozambique on August 30 to begin training as an Education Volunteer. Nancy will live and work in a community to teach biology and chemistry to secondary school students in her community. As she prepares for Peace Corps service, she looks forward to participating in the Let Girls Learn initiative and empowering young women in her community.

“When I graduated from college, I was looking for the next great adventure of my life,” said Nancy of her desire to join the Peace Corps. “One thing I am certain of, is that before I make my mark on the world, I want to give something back first.”

Nancy is the daughter of Harry William Holt, Jr. and Dr. Nancy Vanessa Brown-Holt, the sister to Harry William Holt III, and a graduate of McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland. She then attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in May 2016. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she worked at Brown University as a women’s peer counselor, public relations chairperson for The League of United Black Women, and a dining services cashier. She also served as a camp counselor at the McDonogh School’s Senior Camp and Camp Red Eagle, a teaching assistant for the Vacation Bible School and Day Camp at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Parish and at Cradle Roll Sunday Bible School at Union Bethel A.M.E. Church.

During the first three months of her service, Nancy will live with a host family in Mozambique to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Holt will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Mozambique, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

“I believe that Peace Corps service will have a profound impact on my personal and professional aspirations,” she said. “By the end of my service I am hoping to be fluent in Portuguese, have a comprehensive knowledge of teaching strategies and methods, create international connections and life-long friendships.”

Nancy will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Mozambique and help Nancy develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Holt joins the 207 Maryland residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 5,954 residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Click here to read more about the Peace Corps in Mozambique.

Miami resident Returns from Peace Corps Service in Zambia


Volunteer built the first community library at a government primary school in Southern Province, Zambia

Sydney Shapiro, age 24, of Miami, Florida, has returned from Peace Corps service in Zambia, where she lived and worked for two years and built the first community library at a government primary school in Southern Province, Zambia.

“After interning at the Peace Corps’ headquarters in college and hearing personal anecdotes of returned Peace Corps volunteers, I felt increasingly more excited and at ease about the possibility of being a volunteer,” said Shapiro of her desire to join the Peace Corps.

Sydney Shapiro Upon being sworn into service in 2014, Shapiro lived with a host family in Nazilongo, Zambia, where she became fully immersed in the country’s language and culture while she taught English to students in grades seven through nine at the local primary school.

Meeting with community members and school leaders, she learned improving the students’ literacy was a top priority. So, Shapiro sprang into action, applying for and receiving a small grant, which allowed her to hire a local contractor and secure building materials for a community library—the first of its kind at a government primary school in Zambia.

See more snapshots of Sydney’s service:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Though her main focus was teaching English at the community’s elementary school and building the library, she also found time to plant trees, as well as educate community members about birth control and HIV prevention.

“I always felt like I was born in a place of privilege and wanted to assist those who weren’t. Little did I know that those people would end up changing me more than I changed them,” she said.
Shapiro is the daughter of Sue and Steven Shapiro of Miami, and a graduate of Miami Killian Senior High School, where she played water polo. She attended Florida State University in Tallahassee and received a bachelor’s degree in international affairs in May of 2013.  Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she worked at a lobbying firm in Tallahassee and interned at the Peace Corps’ headquarters in Washington, D.C.

While in Zambia, Shapiro worked in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improved the lives of people Zambia and helped her develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge now that she has returned home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Shapiro joins the 299 Florida residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 7,842 Florida residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Among graduates of Florida State University, Shapiro is in good company. There are currently 28 Seminoles serving overseas in the Peace Corps.

There has never been a better time to apply to Peace Corps, and reforms have made the process simpler, faster, and more personalized than ever before. In 2014, applications reached a 22-year high for the agency, with more than 17,000 Americans taking the first step toward international service. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Browse available volunteer positions at www.peacecorps.gov/openings.

 

Bridgewater, Virginia Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Mozambique

"My goal is to promote a better understanding of American culture and to pass along as much of my science education that I can," says Diana Arndt.
“My goal is to promote a better understanding of American culture and to pass along as much of my science education that I can,” says Diana Arndt.

Diana Arndt, 21, of Bridgewater, Virginia, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Mozambique on August 30 to begin training as a High School Science Teacher.

“I wanted to take a break before I start graduate school in Chemistry. The opportunity to serve in a program that encompasses peace and cultural understanding sounded like the perfect way to use what I’ve learned in college to work with people in an unfamiliar country,” said Arndt of her desire to join the Peace Corps.

Arndt is the daughter of Michele Strano and Rob Arndt, and a graduate of East Rockingham High School in McGaheysville, Virginia, where she served as president of the school’s Environmental Club. She then attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in French in May 2016.

During the first three months of her service, Arndt will live with a host family in Mozambique to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Arndt will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Mozambique, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

“I am looking forward to working in two programs—REDES and Let Girls Learn—that promote women’s education in the community,” Arndt said. “I hope to apply the teaching experience that I will get during my service to my future dream of becoming a university-level Chemistry professor.”

Arndt will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Mozambique and help Arndt develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Arndt joins the 274 Virginia residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 7,500 Virginia residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

There has never been a better time to apply to Peace Corps, and reforms have made the process simpler, faster, and more personalized than ever before. In 2014, applications reached a 22-year high for the agency, with more than 17,000 Americans taking the first step toward international service. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Browse available volunteer positions at www.peacecorps.gov/openings.