IUP Home | A–Z Index | Apply Now | Support IUP | News and Events | Find People |

Allison Braithwaite ’15 Begins Peace Corps Service in Gambia

Allison Braithwaite

Allison Braithwaite ’15, of Northampton, was accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for Gambia on May 30 to begin training as an education volunteer. Braithwaite will live and work in a community to improve teaching methods at local schools and work toward improving student achievement.

“I have dreamed about having the opportunity to join the Peace Corps ever since I was in high school,” Braithwaite said. “Also, when I was in college, I had the chance to talk to a few professors who served in the Peace Corps, and their stories motivated me even more to pursue this opportunity.”

Braithwaite attended Northampton Area High School and earned a BA in early childhood education and special education from IUP.

During the first three months of her service, Braithwaite will live with a host family in Gambia to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Braithwaite will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Gambia, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

“I just hope that I am able to bring my own experiences and knowledge to positively impact someone’s life there,” Braithwaite said.

Braithwaite will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Gambia and help Braithwaite develop leadership, technical, and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Braithwaite joins 286 Pennsylvania residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 8,049 Pennsylvania residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Reforms have made the Peace Corps application process simpler, faster, and more personalized than ever before. In 2014, applications reached a 22-year high for the agency, with more than 17,000 Americans taking the first step toward international service. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Browse available volunteer positions on the Peace Corps website.

About Volunteers in Gambia

There are 82 volunteers in Gambia working with their communities on projects in education, the environment, and health. During their service in Gambia, volunteers learn to speak local languages, including Jola, Mandinka, Pulaar, Sarahule, and Wolof. More than 1,745 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Gambia since the program was established in 1967.

About the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to address the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work with their community members at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions to challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment, and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a lifelong commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.