Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Volunteer Danielle Gucciardo
WASHINGTON D.C. April 27, 2013—Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet is saddened to confirm the death of Peace Corps volunteer Danielle Gucciardo. Danielle, 23, died from injuries sustained after being struck by an automobile in Gulu, Uganda.
“Danielle was a committed and dedicated Peace Corps volunteer who was thrilled to be a teacher in her Gulu community,” said Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “This is a tragic loss for the entire Peace Corps, including her fellow volunteers in Uganda. Our thoughts and prayers are with Danielle’s family during this difficult time.”
Danielle, of Woodhaven, Mich., arrived in Uganda on November 13, 2012 for pre-service training and was sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer on January 17, 2013. Since that time, she had been serving as an education volunteer, teaching chemistry and biology at a secondary school in Gulu, a city in Northern Uganda.
Described by Peace Corps Uganda staff as “vibrant and always smiling,” she was already well integrated into her local community, in addition to being credited for mastering and conversing in the local language with her students and community members.
Danielle was known by her community as “Lamara” which translates as “loved one” in Acholi. She was praised by her colleagues for her professionalism, responsibility, and teaching abilities.
Many of Danielle's fellow teachers shared with Peace Corps staff their appreciation for her ability with the local language, which she greeted everyone in along with her bright smile. Silver Raboroho, head teacher of Pabo Secondary School said that, “Danielle truly is our Lamara, loved one, and her presence will be greatly missed.”
A graduate of Central Michigan University, Danielle received her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies in December 2011. During her time at Central Michigan, Danielle demonstrated a strong commitment to community service through her work with the Alternative Breaks and Take Back the Tap programs, and as an Activity Coordinator for her school’s Best Buddies chapter.
Prior to her Peace Corps service, Danielle served as an AmeriCorps Member and worked at the American Conservation Experience. There she participated and worked with both American and international volunteers on meaningful conservation projects to help breakdown cultural barriers while advancing ecological awareness. She also worked as a Naturalist Intern for the U.S Forest Service in Deer River, Minn. where she achieved an AmeriCorps Education Award for organizing programs with the public to inform and educate them about conservation and environmental issues.
In addition to her commitment to volunteer work and the environment, Danielle loved camping and team sports. In her Peace Corps application she said that she looked forward to keeping an open mind by trying new things and listening to new ideas during her service. She had hoped to use the new perspective from her Peace Corps service to influence and inspire others to educate themselves on social issues and to get involved and give back to communities on a local, national, and global scale.
Danielle is survived by her parents and two sisters in Michigan.
About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. 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 agency’s 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.