I have wanted to be a United States Peace Corps Volunteer since I was ten years old. My fifth grade teacher assigned me President John F Kennedy, who instituted the Corps under an executive order in 1961, for a presidential biography assignment. I think at the time, I just liked the idea of it and the way it sounded, but it was a sweet song that would echo across my mind for many years to come. Of course, it took 13 more years, a Jesuit education, and a bundle of life experiences to get me here to Jamaica, where I consider to be the right place at the right time.
As a peace worker, when I think about community development, my brain starts asking a million questions: what are our strengths and weaknesses? What has worked in the past? What hasn’t? How can we be intentional and proactive? How can we be our best possible community? But when I scale that down to a truly grassroots level, I am reminded that linking individuals with the tools necessary to revitalize their lives is a more interpersonal practice. This is why working within the education sector was initially so appealing to me and when I realized that would mean serving as a literacy advisor, working with elementary school students struggling to read, I knew I had made the right decision. We say, “learn to read then read to learn,” and I cannot think of more powerful resources to equip the young minds and future leaders of the world with than a strong understanding of the power of the written word and a passion for reading. Having taught citizenship literacy to immigrants and refugees at the International Institute of St. Louis, this work seemed like a good fit; what I couldn’t have predicted was that the loop I would be thrown for working intimately with these lively children would actually be the most humbling learning experience of a lifetime. Continue reading
Thanks to YOU, #JamaicaReads
August 30, 2016
Thank you for giving hope
October 8, 2015
The Power of Collaborations: Reading Owls and the Peace Corps join forces to tackle illiteracy in Jamaica