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Peace Corps Volunteers Organize Youth Theater Festival in Thailand

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2012 Six Peace Corps volunteers in Thailand are organizing the 9th annual Thai Youth Theater (TYT) Festival in the Phitsanulok Province for more than 210 local youth aged 10 to 16. The Festival, which takes place Jan. 27 to Jan. 29, 2012, will include daily volunteer-led acting workshops and lessons, and fashion shows. The volunteers helped raise funds for the festival through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), a program that helps fund Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide.

Magnifying glass iconA final performance at the 2011 TYT Festival.To see students who are usually very shy and quiet express themselves onstage is a great reward for the volunteers and the participants, said Peace Corps/Thailand volunteer Leanne Klausegger of Celebration, Fla., who has helped organize the TYT Festival for the past two years. I hope TYT continues to positively impact Thai youth for many years to come.

The TYT Festival was originally started in 2003 by a group of Peace Corps volunteers and local community members who wanted to help students with their acting and English skills. Today, all of the Festivals performances are completed in English, helping youth participants build confidence in their language abilities. On the last day of the festival, each participant presents a play of their own in English to an audience of their peers.

Magnifying glass iconPeace Corps/Thailand volunteer Leanne Klausegger helps prepare a TYT Festival participant for her performance.Youth participate in TYT clubs across Thailand and meet regularly to prepare for the annual festival. During club meetings, Peace Corps volunteers help youth participants select and translate scripts, practice lines, make costumes and props, and stage their plays at the Festival. Performances at the 2012 Festival will include: The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland.

We aim to provide students with opportunities to foster and improve skills in creative and critical thinking, English language, and presentation while, of course, having fun, said Deborah Ou-Yang of Bethlehem, Pa., who has been working as an education volunteer and organizing this years Festival since she arrived in early 2011. I believe the TYT Festival benefits the youth participants by encouraging creativity and, above all, confidence.

Magnifying glass iconParticipants of the 2011 TYT Festival.In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project cost and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability.

About Peace Corps/Thailand: More than 5,040 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Thailand since the program was established in 1962. Currently, 106 volunteers serve in Thailand. Volunteers work in the areas of education and community development. Volunteers are trained and work in the Thai language.

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agencys mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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