Peace Corps Announces Winners of Annual ‘Blog It Home’ Contest

Winning volunteers will travel to Washington, D.C. to share their global perspective with local youth

WASHINGTON, D.C, Aug. 13, 2014 – Today the Peace Corps announced nine winners of its second annual Blog It Home contest who will travel from their countries of service to Washington, D.C., next month to present their blogs and talk about using technology to bring the world home.

From Sept. 15-19 in D.C., the volunteers will share their service experience with students, community members and local Girl Scout troops during visits to area schools and at an event at Peace Corps Headquarters. The events support Peace Corps’ third goal of promoting a better understanding among Americans of other people and cultures around the world.

The nine winning bloggers were selected among more than 350 Peace Corps volunteers from 60 countries for their focus on using their blogs to increase cross-cultural understanding. The entries were narrowed down to 20 finalists who were then voted on by the public through Peace Corps’ Facebook page. The winning bloggers include Christine Bedenis of Plymouth Mich., (Thailand); Jill Conway of Highlands Ranch, Colo., (Albania); Erika Hooker of Ithaca N.Y., (Senegal); Sara Laskowski of Aberdeen, Md., (Guinea); Julia Lingham of Holliston, Mass., (Uganda); Keith and Heather May of Beavercreek, Ohio, (China); Anna Nathanson of Teaneck, N.J., (Cameroon); and Bronwen Raff of Hailey, Idaho, (Dominican Republic).

“I love to write about Guinea,” said recently returned volunteer Sara Laskowski upon being selected as a finalist. “I take it seriously, plan what I want to say, erase and rewrite, reorder and rethink. I want to portray it correctly. I owe it to Guinea.”

Technology not only boosts Peace Corps volunteers’ development impact in the countries they serve but also helps current and returned volunteers share their service stories to broaden cultural awareness and global perspective. In 2013, more than 70 percent of volunteers around the world had Internet connectivity.

“Cameroon is a beautiful country that most Americans will never have the opportunity to visit, and I get to live here for two years,” said winner Anna Nathanson, who has been living in Cameroon since 2013. “With my blog, I try to take the reader to Cameroon with me. I try to tell you stories or show you pictures of what me and the other residents of my town experience day to day.”

Long after volunteers return home, they give back to their local communities and enrich the lives of those around them, helping to strengthen international ties and increase our country’s global competitiveness. The Peace Corps provides career, education and transition assis­tance to the thousands of Peace Corps volunteers who return to the U.S. each year through its Office of Third Goal and Re­turned Volunteer Services.

Press interested in attending these events or connecting with contest winners should contact the Peace Corps Press Office at [email protected].

About the Peace Corps: As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences—and a global outlook—back to the United States that enriches the lives of those around them. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit to learn more.

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