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It came to me as an epiphany as I reflected on my life’s purposefulness while contemplating accepting a significant job promotion. So, I took a “Leap of Faith” and upon careful consideration and much deliberation, I decided to resign from my position as a Sr. Operations Manager in order to pursue my long-term desire to be a part of the Peace Corps fight for a greater cause for humanity. My life changed three years ago when after struggling as a single parent for six years, I lost my daughter to leukemia. Although I continued to strive to lead a meaningful life, all the socioeconomic status symbols and ‘accomplishments’ ambitions in my life purpose felt minuscule and unfulfilled. My decision was not arbitrary or capricious; after thorough research into its mission and global initiatives, I chose the Peace Corps because it closely aligned with my ambitions to lead a more magnanimous life. The Peace Corps also provides me with an opportunity to take advantage of my diverse personal, educational and professional experience in a challenging environment where I can also strive to be more than a committed employee; I can envision a future as an impassioned humanitarian.
In addition, I recognize the significant challenges of serving in the Peace Corps, nevertheless, I feel that my extensive personal, educational and professional experience will enable me to overcome the various physical, emotional and intellectual challenges associated with the Peace Corps service. In addition, I have also researched various aspects of the programs, as well as volunteer testimonials from the Peace Corps projects, and I am confident that I have the quintessential skills and motivation to help me excel as a volunteer. For instance, I’ve learned leadership skills over the past 30 years and held management positions while employed in a myriad of organizations that all had specific types of strategic goals and objectives. From start-up sole proprietorship, driven primarily by passion, business partnerships driven by their collaborative mission statements to national and international conglomerate entities operating to deliver services while navigating through government policies, I was able to learn and acquire innovative tools for success in business.
Equally important, I was also fortunate enough to have been involved with several non-profit organizations where I had the opportunity to work with people with disabilities, build homes for Habitat For Humanity families and mentor interns from Year Up to learn job skills. Not only have these interactions allowed me to develop intellectual, emotional and interpersonal skills to be successful in each of these organizations they enabled me to develop pragmatic, communication and team-building strategies to help me to elucidate concepts to a broad audience. However, some of the most profound coping mechanisms that I feel will help prepare me for the Peace Corps emotionally and psychologically, I developed while living abroad.
I also recognize that the Peace Corps will be one of the toughest assignments I have undertaken. This is primarily because I will not only be working in another country, I will also be submersing myself into the culture which is undoubtedly a formidable task. Therefore, as I reflect upon all the ways in which I am preparing myself for life and work in the Peace Corps and beyond, I know that living in Puerto Rico for a year as an exchange student and my international travels have equipped me with the tools to be successful emotionally and psychologically while living in a foreign country. Nonetheless, I had to face everyday obstacles that were alienating and quite often exasperating to my character. Soon, I gradually expanded my arsenal of emotional coping strategies through all of these encounters which I continue to utilize to help me thrive in uncomfortable or new environments, build relationships, socialize with new people, and connect people, even now, with various styles of communication. Through all of these experiences, though, I grew. I learned about the hard work it takes to find common ground with people from different backgrounds, cultures and mindsets and the feeling of empowerment that comes with tackling a challenge that seems insurmountable. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, living in Puerto Rico and traveling to Italy, France, England and Mexico have taught me resilience. It allowed me to find deep value, even joy, in the most challenging aspects of service and helped me stay committed to the work.
The Peace Corps gives me a tremendous opportunity to harness my expertise, experience and ability to support and connect with people in other cultures. With this knowledge and experience, I will continue my advocacy for embracing diversity and a proponent of building a Beautiful Society for all humanity; my aim is to make volunteering my contribution. Most importantly, I believe my participation with the Peace Corps is more than just volunteering for a nonprofit; it represents a constructive and fundamental plight to support humanity in a world where adversity and obstacles seem to be more prevalent than the love of our fellow beings. My goal is to continue as an Educator, Activist and Humanitarian even after volunteering reach as many people as I can and join the aim to have a positive and lasting effect on society as a whole.
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