88th Group of six (6) US Peace Corps Volunteers sworn in on Friday, in a ceremony at UWI Open Campus
The 88th Group of six (6) US Peace Corps Volunteers who were sworn in on Friday, in a ceremony at the UWI Open Campus, will serve their mission in Dominica for the next two years. They will be stationed in schools around the island, & will work on improving literacy, as part of the Peace Corps Primary English Literacy Project.
Associate Peace Corps Director, Ferne Laurent, described the aim of the program, from its birth in 2014. She said “From 2014, the Primary English Literacy Project started with a focus on literacy in the primary schools, with major emphasis on grades 1, 2, & 3. Peace Corps volunteers thereby work alongside teachers, to help improve literacy needs of students, and especially struggling readers”.
She noted that the organization’s target of “improving literacy achievement through assessing students and developing literacy intervention programs” has been accomplished by all volunteers. Laurent commended the Peace Corps volunteers for their work in literacy, particularly in library development & expansion, which facilitated the development of thirteen school libraries in Dominica. She viewed the use of student librarians as being “most successful, as it has empowered students and allowed them to claim ownership of their libraries.”
Peace Corps Country Director for the Eastern Caribbean, Mary Kate Lowndes, advised the new volunteers to let their character help them through challenges they may face in a new environment. She said “You will face these challenges armed with the skills, knowledge, determination & enthusiasm you demonstrated since you arrived here. Your open hearts & minds will help you to be successful.”
Lowndes noted the volunteers will be “vastly changed” by the experience. She urged them to share their American culture, but be open to Dominican traditions. Before being sworn into service, they participated in six weeks training in St. Lucia, which focused on preparing them to provide literacy instruction in Grades 1 to 3. After their training, they worked in various primary schools around the islands.
The volunteers have been assigned as follows: Annisha Bell to Grand Fond Primary School; Susan Graf to Calibishie Primary School; Robert Hall to Penville Primary School; Kathleen Kennedy to Wesley Primary School; Kimberlie Hansen to Sineku Primary School, Kiah Thorn to Grand Bay Primary School.
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