Geico Partnership Rooted in Shared Commitment to Community
By Erica Burman on Monday, September 20th, 2010
[In 2006, the National Peace Corps Association partnered with GEICO to provide discounted insurance rates to NPCA members. NPCA carefully selected GEICO as a partner because of its commitment to the community. Part of GEICO's corporate mission is to encourage active, involved citizenship. More than 4,000 GEICO associates volunteer an average of five hours a week helping worthwhile causes and the GEICO Foundation has committed millions of dollars to support their efforts. Through our partnership, NPCA receives revenue from your inquiries which we invest in programming that benefits the Peace Corps community. Here's the Peace Corps story of one Geico employee.]
My name is Lisa Byrne and I am a Kenya RPCV 2006-08. I truly valued my time abroad and have lasting memories of the experience. I taught math and physics in a rural Kenyan secondary school. My village was located in between the cities of Eldoret and Kitale, and it took two to three hours to travel to town for supplies and Internet access. Most of my service was focused on the day-to-day demands of teaching, however I also served as the girls boarding mistress and girls hand ball coach. Within my secondary role I organized school-wide assemblies to discuss goal setting, problem solving, and study skills and brought in health educators. The students enjoyed the presentations so much they started their own health club. One of the true highlights of my Peace Corps experience was my service as a guest counselor at another Peace Corps Volunteer’s Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) project. The camp focused on empowering girls to identify and overcome gender stereotypes so that they could become leaders in their communities. My service ended prematurely due to the contested 2007 Kenyan Presidential election.
Despite my premature departure, my time in Kenya gave me a new perspective on the world. I realized that what I want to achieve in my life is no different than what my Kenyan students want in their lives: a good education, a good job and a loving family. What my students lacked was opportunity. There are only 10,000 slots available in Kenyan universities every year and there are 100,000 students competing for those spaces. The students from my village were poor, had minimal primary education and very little support from parents who were struggling to make a living. The reality of their situation was that they had virtually no chance of securing a university slot or finding gainful employment. And yet they still hope. I’m still in contact with one of the teachers at my school and consider her one of my best friends. I hope to visit her and my school again sometime in the near future.
I’ve carried their hope back to the United States and was fortunate enough to get a job at GEICO. In addition to taking great care of its customers, GEICO is committed to helping the community and providing hope to those who are less fortunate. I’m proud to have my employer be connected to a community that has changed my life.