Peace Corps: The Next Generation
By Jonathan Pearson on Monday, December 20th, 2010
A December visit with the Peace Corps community in Rhode Island featured a variety of ways in which returned volunteers play a significant role inspiring the next generation of global public servants.
It’s no longer an anomaly that within many U.S. families there are multi-generations of Peace Corps volunteers. Aisha Stewart just completed two years of service in Niger, following in the footsteps of her mom, Pam Pomfret (Chad 78-79; Burkina Faso 80-83). Aisha’s parents worked overseas during her early years. “I was young and Peace Corps infected me,” she said with a smile. Not surprisingly, she was well prepared for her Peace Corps experience. “It was definitely the best decision I ever made. I’m pretty sure I was in the best village on the planet!” The role of Peace Corps parent was also an enjoyable experience for Pam, who traveled to west Africa for a visit. Noting the respect older people receive in the region, Pam said it was nice being older and being in Africa.
Pam and Aisha attended a dinner hosted by the Rhode Island Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Also in attendance was Shelby Maldonado, a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island and nominee to serve as a Community Youth Development volunteer in Central America. Meeting with returned volunteers “makes me more confident in my decision to want to go.” Another person who is confident about Shelby is Donna Figueroa (Guatemala 86-89), Assistant Director for International Education at URI who shared her Peace Corps experiences and encouraged Shelby to apply. When asked about the qualities the future volunteer possesses, Donna noted her caring attitude. “I always saw she cared about students and other people around her. She’s a very sensitive person.”