Peace Corps Director Honors Area Girl Scouts for Book Donation

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2003 Recently, Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez presented Rockville, MD, Junior Girl Scout Troop 2798 with certificates of appreciation for their donation of more than 500 educational reference and library books to the island of Falalop, Ulithi Atoll, located in Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia, facilitated through the Peace Corps\' Office of Private Sector Initiatives.

I am extremely delighted to honor these young Girl Scouts for their dedication to service at such a young age and for donating to a Peace Corps project overseas. It is through such programs as the Girls Scouts of America that our countrys youth are introduced to the concepts of service and volunteerism, and make for great future Peace Corps volunteers, said Director Vasquez at the presentation.
photo of Director Vasquez meeting with members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 2798
Director Vasquez meets with members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 2798.

To collect these books from the community, the troop conducted a flyer campaign and solicited donations from educational companies. The troop also raised funds for shipping costs and sorted the books by appropriate age and subject material. The troop devoted four months to the book drive, and troop members earned the Bronze Award as a result of their efforts. The Bronze Award is a community service-leadership award and the highest honor a Junior Scout can achieve.

The books were received by Neil Mellen, a youth development volunteer in Micronesia. We are so excited about this donation because it is a youth to youth effort - the young Maryland Girl Scouts have put together and sent off books for kids their own age, half way across the world, on the tiny atoll of Ulithi, commented Neil. Early on, the Girl Scouts sent photographs, and we in turn mailed them photos of the kids here. This sort of two-way relationship, with the American girls learning about a new culture, and the Ulithian kids getting much needed books to read, can last years beyond the end of my 2 year service."

Since 1966, over 4,330 Americans have volunteered with the Peace Corps in Micronesia. Volunteers work to improve the quality of education and enhance opportunities for the community through library development, reading projects, and information technology training. Health volunteers assist in establishing a decentralized primary health care and health education program, while conservation volunteers work with government agencies, NGOs, coastal communities, and school children to locally manage resource-based economic projects such as clam, soft coral, and sponge farming.

The Girls Scouts of America also encourages troop members to learn about the Peace Corps through the Humans and Habitats Badge and by inviting the Peace Corps to the Girls Scouts International Thinking Day celebrations. The Humans and Habitats Badge encourages Girl Scouts to learn about new places and cultures by discovering cultural experiences in their own communities. Peace Corps volunteers and staff also participate in the Girls Scouts Thinking Day in which Scouts learn about Girl Scout troops in countries around the world. Volunteers and staff help troop members understand the cultures of international troops by sharing their service experiences.

If you are interested in learning more about the Peace Corps\' volunteer projects and how you may contribute, please contact Peace Corps\' Office of Private Sector Initiatives (OPSI) toll-free at 1.800.424.8580, ext. 2170, or via e-mail at [email protected]. For more information, you may also visit the OPSI website at the OPSI website at

Since 1961, more than 168,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be ns and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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