US Peace Corps Volunteer
Underwent a competitive application process emphasizing professional skills, motivation, adaptability, cross-cultural understanding, and medical fitness before being invited into service as a Community Development: Youth Sector Volunteer in Macedonia.
As a trainee, participated in an 11-week training program, which consisted of:
- An intensive Macedonian language course
- Technical training, cross-cultural adaptability, and policy
- Living with a Macedonian family, none of who spoke English
- A practicum assignment used to apply skills in a real life context
Primary assignment with local grass roots non-governmental organization YMCA Bitola, located in Bitola, Macedonia; supervised by her counterpart Viktor Iliev. Participated in and initiated activities, particularly in the networking, organizational development, and public relations spheres, as well as a variety of local and national activities with other volunteers and organizations.
While focusing on strengthening YMCA Bitola's networking and institutional development designed, wrote, and trained a team of colleagues to sustainably publish NotifY, a now internationally recognized e-magazine and blog. To improve networking, organizational capacity, and sustainability facilitated and fostered the relationship between Peace Corps volunteers serving as project coordinators of the Young Men's Leadership Project and YMCA Bitola staff in order to establish a firm partnership for the program and to host the YMLP summer camp. To improve youth outreach and public relations skills, trained YMCA Bitola members on communication skills, basic design techniques, photography, and Internet applications to help streamline and increase productivity in the workplace so that YMCA Bitola may netter support their target group, youth, within their community and beyond. In addition, participated in weekly organizational meetings, board meetings, and all major programs and activities. Supported and was supported by colleagues at YMCA Bitola in all major programming decisions.
During the length of service, showcased flexibility, patience, and adjustment to the Macedonian culture. Utilized creative talents, technological literacy, and communication skills to benefit colleagues and project partners.
Apart from primary assignment duties, participated in a variety of other local and national secondary projects.
- Acted as Lead Coordinator and regional judge for the National Essay Contest of Macedonia
- Functioned as graphic designer and writer for Pauza, Peace Corps Macedonia’s quarterly magazine
- Taught bi-weekly English classes and conversation hours
- Lead a year-long, monthly book club and SAT essay preparation classes for youth participants with American Corner Bitola, the American cultural center for the US Embassy Macedonia’s branch of the Competitive College Club
- Served as Media Facilitator for the Young Men’s Leadership Project summer camp 2012
- Organized and co-facilitated four teams, over two years, for the Macedonia Model United Nations
- Served as adult advisor for the Security Council of the Macedonia Model UN Conference 2013
- Acted as photographer for events such as the National Spelling Bee and Macedonia Model UN
- Provided local-level assistance to national projects such as interviews for Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) and regional qualifiers for the National Spelling Bee
- Co-facilitated trainings for incoming Peace Corps Volunteers on adult English teaching methodology
- Served as a regional Warden, trained by Peace Corps Macedonia’s Safety and Security Officer
Created and cultivated the position of Technology and Public Relations Coordinator for the Young Men’s Leadership Project (YMLP). A joint-venture between YMCA Bitola and Peace Corps Volunteers, YMLP is a year-long program culminating in a summer camp designed to develop the core values of social inclusion, commitment to democratic processes, and civic engagement for the emerging leaders of Macedonia in an inter-ethnic environment while providing them with the personal and professional life skills to help mold them into the future leaders of tomorrow. The position of Technology and Public Relations Coordinator was born out of the growing need to integrate and utilize current technologies into the project in an attempt to increase communication productivity of camp staff, advertise the program and reach the youth of Macedonia on the ground level. In this position, designed and built a website for YMLP, maintained daily communication across various social medias, created PR campaigns for the program, designed logos and print materials, created and implemented a streamlined application and interview system, and provided logistical support for the program.
• As a member of YMCA Bitola, led and attend a variety of trainings intended to build the capacity of participants. Participated in the following trainings: The Hero’s Journey, Better Photography for Trainings and Basics of Photo Editing in Adobe Lightroom, Using Internet Technologies to Streamline Your Personal and Professional Life, Blogging Computer Seminar, Public Speaking for Young Leaders, Writing for the SAT, and Creative Writing Structure and Technique.
• Attended Peace Corps Technical In-Service Training, Language In-Service Training, Mid-Service Training, and Close of Service Trainings. These trainings focused on Macedonian language development, technical community development training, and cultural adjustment.
*Full Documentation of Service available upon request.