Peace Corps Deputy Director Visits Belize

February 4, 2008

Olsen visited Peace Corps Volunteers, staff, and government officials during visit to Central American nation.

BELMOPAN, BELIZE, February 4, 2008 - Peace Corps Deputy Director Josephine K. Olsen visited the Central American nation of Belize to meet Peace Corps Volunteers across the country last week. Olsen met with the Governor-General of Belize, Sir Colville Young, Sr., who fondly recalled working as a language trainer with the Peace Corps in 1962.

Olsen said of her visit, "Shortly after the Peace Corps was established, the Belizean people warmly welcomed us into their beautiful country. This friendship has grown stronger over the years, and the Belizean people continue to partner with Peace Corps Volunteers to help to improve the quality of life in Belizes diverse communities."

During her travels across the country, Olsen met with several Volunteers, including Robert Magee of New York City. Magee is leading a project on nutrition education through the establishment of a school vegetable garden in his village.

Another Volunteer, Molly Osborn, of Minneapolis, works in a small town on the Mexican border. With the help of her community, Osborn established a library of 2,000 books and has helped a local women's cooperative secure a $25,000 grant to build a restaurant near the border crossing, which will bring significant revenue into the community.

Joe Campbell, a youth development Volunteer from Milwaukee, works in an urban high school, and is teaching life skills to at-risk youth, placing an emphasis on self-esteem activities and positive social interaction. He also serves as a mentor to encourage students to stay in school.

There are 65 Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Belize, in the areas of small enterprise development, youth development, education, health, and HIV/AIDS. Since 1962, over 1,600 Volunteers have served in Belize.

To learn more about Peace Corps/Belize, visit the Where Do Volunteers Go? web page.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers serving, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served, including Belize. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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