Ask a Volunteer
Q: What, or who, inspired you to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer?
A: When I was in 2nd grade, I announced to my teacher that I would work in Africa. She laughed. Then when I was 12 years old, I read Tom Dooley's book The Night they Burned the Mountain. Dr. Dooley was in Laos during World War II and when he left the service, he went back on his own to work there. He loved the country and the people. He inspired me to want to work in health in a developing country. When I was in college, President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps; however, I wanted to get married first. Now that my children are grown and successful, I finally could join the Peace Corps and come to Zambia, Africa. I am very glad I did.
Mary Ellen Rivero, Health / Nutrition Peace Corps Volunteer, Zambia
A: Gandhi is often quoted as having said: "Be the change you want to see in the world." I was 14 years old the first time I saw that as a bumper sticker. I wanted everyone to help each other and believed it could begin with me. Living that mantra led me to the Peace Corps, and it felt like the most natural choice in the world.
Erika Pullen, General Health Peace Corps Volunteer, Morocco
A: My Catholic globetrotting parents taught me the value of service to the less fortunate and that an international plane ticket is the best use of one's money.
Samuel Rappé, General Health Peace Corps Volunteer, Burkina Faso
A: My father was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa, my mother is Samoan. Dad's stories of volunteer life and the effects of his service convinced me that it was an experience I too wanted. My mom's stories, as a local citizen, confirmed that Peace Corps was a unique peace-building organization, and that there was real need for enthusiastic and educated volunteers to partner with people across the globe in the name of peace and development.
Vanessa Lee Raymond, Business Management Peace Corps Volunteer, Bulgaria
A: My fifth grade teacher was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone. She had a story to tell that related to each and every topic we studied, and would often show us pictures from the village, and teach us words from the local dialect. Listening to her, I knew I wanted to have my own stories one day. And so I will.
Heidi Reimer, English Education Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine
A: I was inspired to serve largely through travel. I spent most of my twenties working on cruise ships, exploring much of the world. Seeing so many places, people, and cultures made me both thankful and curious. I wanted to give something back for all the blessings I'd received. And I wanted to keep exploring, to learn about one culture deeply; a sort of main course after sampling so many as an appetizer platter.
Jennifer Richards, Agriculture Peace Corps Volunteer, Senegal