On March 15, 2016, Peace Corps Jamaica hosted a welcome reception for the 87th group of Americans to serve as volunteers in Jamaica. Their arrival continues the partnership between the governments of the United States and Jamaica first established through a signed agreement on February 22, 1962.
The incoming trainees will participate in approximately eleven weeks of pre-service training, designed to prepare them to live and work in communities across the island for two years as Peace Corps Volunteers. Their preparation will include exposure to technical and cross cultural competencies that will enable them to work effectively in the areas of primary education and the environment. This group of trainees will build on a rich tradition established by over 3900 volunteers who have avidly served on island, working with a wide cross section of schools, communities, government and non-government organizations and entrepreneurs since the first group of volunteers arrived on June 12, 1962.
Speaking at the event, Peace Corps Jamaica Country Director Jennifer E. White, said “Peace Corps is thrilled to welcome our current group of dedicated Environmental and Education trainees. These 36 men and women represent an amazingly diverse set of skills and backgrounds.” She went on to say that the group’s members range in age from 22 to 68 years and, for the first time, six of the trainees have roots in Jamaica, either through citizenship or parentage. White asserted that regardless of their age or heritage, they all share a passion for service and in helping to work for a better Jamaica.
Trainee Julianna Ashe, on behalf of Group 87, said “while I try to greet each new experience with an open mind and to have as few expectations as possible, I find it hard to have none. I expect to be pushed out of my comfort zone, and to experience personal growth that would otherwise not be possible without leaving my zone of comfort as well as through valuable lessons from the people of Jamaica that I would not be able to learn in my home country.”
The Peace Corps was established to help support community development in countries around the world while promote world peace and friendship. The U.S. partnership with the Jamaican people has borne fruit. One of the most significant features of the relationship has been the forging of lifetime friendships between the Volunteers and Jamaicans with whom they lived and worked.
The U.S. Peace Corps was established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and involves American men and women of all ages who represent the diversity of the United States. Volunteer spend two (2) years providing assistance to nations around the world. Jamaica was the seventh country to receive Volunteers, beginning in its year of independence of 1962.
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