Hollywood Resident Is Spreading Peace: Will Be Among The First Peace Corps Volunteers to Return to Service Overseas

June 30, 2022

Hollywood resident Marquita Rusley is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“I want to build relationships with people in my overseas community by experiencing their customs and daily routines. Through my Peace Corps service, I hope to gain transferable skills that will help me become a teacher after I complete service,” said Rusley.

Rusley is a graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in environment and society. She will serve as a volunteer in Togo in the education sector.

“The world is at a critical juncture. The largest global vaccination effort in history is underway while other widespread health, social, political, and environmental issues continue to erode the foundation of our global society. Actions taken in the next few years have the potential to fundamentally impact development trajectories for decades to come,” said Peace Corps CEO Carol Spahn. “Peace Corps volunteers returning to Togo will work alongside community members to support urgent development efforts and build critical connections.”

The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development – and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.

Currently, the agency is recruiting volunteers to serve in 40 countries around the world at the request of host country governments, to connect through the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach across communities and cultures. Volunteers have already returned to a total of 17 countries around the world. The Peace Corps continues to monitor COVID-19 trends in all of its host countries and will send volunteers to serve as conditions permit. Americans interested in transformative service and lifelong connections should apply to Peace Corps service at www.peacecorps.gov/apply.

About the Peace Corps
For 61 years, the Peace Corps mission has remained the same — to promote world peace and friendship. However, just as vinyl gave way to 8-track, which evolved into cassettes and then CDs and streaming, the Peace Corps Volunteer experience has evolved as well. Today, where they serve, how Volunteers live, and the types of local projects they support look a little different from the earliest days of the Peace Corps.

Technology has streamlined the application process. Applicants can choose where they wish to serve. Staging isn’t three days anymore. Pre-service training has expanded. The opportunities to serve with the Peace Corps have expanded, too. Besides the standard two-year service commitment, there is Peace Corps Response, Advancing Health Professionals, and their Virtual Service Pilot.

Even with all these changes, though, some parts of Peace Corps service are timeless. Learning a new language; collaborating with counterparts to support communities; using intercultural competence to connect and bond with people you’ll remember forever; returning home and helping Americans understand the world and people around them—these are all parts of service that have not changed and probably never will.

Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter