March Featured Advocate – Jessica Henry
By Kaitlyn Moberly on Monday, March 11th, 2013
This year’s National Day of Action was very successful. The Capitol Hill component had the biggest Day of Action presence to date, and it goes without saying we could not have succeeded without all of the dedicated and passionate advocates who joined us on February 28th.
Jessica Henry (El Salvador, 2010-12), our featured advocate for March, is representative of those who joined us to tell their story of why Peace Corps is so important.
Jessica worked in a small community designing and implementing youth-focused projects. Some of her most rewarding projects included overseeing and developing a youth scholarship initiative, assisting with a women’s cooperative and small business, and conducting camps for young women and mothers. She also served as the Vice President of the Gender and Development committee and helped to co-produce a life skills musical for young audiences around the country.
A member of the National Peace Corps Association, Jessica also is a member of the RPCV’s of Washington D.C., and is hoping to soon create a Friends of El Salvador.
Jessica says there were many things that brought her to the Day of Action. She wanted the opportunity to connect with other RPCVs but also have the ability to stand with them in sharing their stories and advocating for how much of an investment Peace Corps is for the world. She believes RPCVs carry the responsibility of being “citizen ambassadors,” linking their host country to the U.S. and utilizing the skills learned to benefit our communities here at home. From cultural competency to technical and communication skills, RPCVs are “an investment, not just an expense.” Jessica believes this to be a very important aspect of being an effective advocate for Peace Corps, along with telling the personal stories of RPCVs.
Being a part of Peace Corps was a defining experience for Jessica. “It was as if everything before had been preparing me for it.” This experience was one that trained her and motivated her to make a change in the U.S. upon her return.
When talking with Jessica, even for such a short amount of time, one can see how passionate she is about the Peace Corps, its mission and the community where she served. ”(Peace Corps) challenged, changed and even strengthened so many beliefs I had about developing countries, values, community and culture. It was by far the hardest yet most rewarding job I’ve ever had, and I want to help improve and expand Peace Corps in any way I can so that even more Americans can have an amazing volunteer experience in the future.”