Quechee Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in the Dominican Republic
Kelsey Dodge, 24, of Quechee, Vermont, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for the Dominican Republic on August 16 to begin training as an education volunteer. Dodge will live and work in a community to develop and implement literacy programs for primary students at a local school.
“I wanted to make an impact regardless of how small that impact is,” said Dodge of her desire to join the Peace Corps. “I have had all of the schooling, I've been in school for the past 19 years of my life with volunteer work here and there. I just felt that it was time for me to do something and to use my education to my advantage.
“If I can get students motivated to want to learn and to go after what they want in life, that still changes their life,” she added. “I might not be impacting the world, but if I can impact the lives of future generations, then they can, in turn, impact the future.”
Dodge is the daughter of Tyler and Casey Dodge and a graduate of Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vermont. She attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she earned a B.A. in anthropology and Spanish with a minor in Ethnic Studies in 2014. Dodge also earned a M.A. in International Relations in July 2016 from Webster University. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she volunteered at the 21st International Humanitarian Conference, Karen refugees camps, and Caritas, Austria in solving the Syrian refugee crisis. She has also worked as a waitress at Salt Hill Pub, and as a lifeguard, swim, and ski instructor.
During the first three months of her service, Dodge will live with a host family in the Dominican Republic to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Dodge will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in the Dominican Republic, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.
“The part I'm looking forward to most is interacting and talking with people, specifically children, and sharing the importance and benefits of literacy, while learning their stories,” Dodge said. “It goes without saying that I know there will be challenges, but I look at them as learning opportunities and chances for me to grow.”
Dodge will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in the Dominican Republic and help Dodge develop leadership, technical, and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.
Dodge joins the 52 Vermont residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 1,530 Vermont residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.
Vermont is the top Peace Corps volunteer-producing state in the nation on a per capita basis. Fifty-two residents of the Green Mountain State are currently serving in the Peace Corps. In 2015, the Burlington-South Burlington metro area also ranked No. 3 nationally for per-capita production of Peace Corps volunteers, with 18 area residents serving overseas.
There has never been a better time to apply to Peace Corps, and reforms have made the process simpler, faster, and more personalized than ever before. In 2014, applications reached a 22-year high for the agency, with more than 17,000 Americans taking the first step toward international service. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Browse available volunteer positions atwww.peacecorps.gov/openings.
About volunteers in Dominican Republic: There are 169 Volunteers in the Dominican Republic working with their communities on projects in community economic development, education, health, and youth development. During their service in the Dominican Republic, Volunteers learn to speak local languages, including basic Haitian Kreyol and Spanish. More than 4,550 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in the Dominican Republic since the program was established in 1962.
About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.