Worcester Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga

WASHINGTON, D.C. Jocelyn Hill, 28, of Worcester, Vermont, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga on August 29 to begin training as an education volunteer. Hill will live and work in a community to support and teach local students alongside teachers in the English language.

“I applied to the Pacific Islands because I have always been attracted to the Polynesian culture,” said Hill of her desire to join the Peace Corps. “I am looking forward to immersing myself in the Tongan culture and learning as much as I can about the people and children to be at humble service.”

Hill is the daughter of Michele and Roger Hill and a graduate of U-32 in East Montpelier. After graduating from U-32 in 2005, she moved to California and volunteered with AmeriCorps City Year to improve under-resourced communities and primary schools in East San Jose, California. She attended San Jose State University in San Jose, California, where she earned a B.A. in child and adolescent development in 2010. Hill later earned an M.A. in education with a teaching credential in early childhood special education in June 2012 from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she taught three to five-year olds with autism in Santa Clara’s public school district for five years as well as supervised behavior therapy in the home and community in the San Jose area. She also served as a volunteer for the Special Olympics, respite care and in hospice care.

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

Hill will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Tonga and help Hill 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.

Hill joins the 52 Vermont residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 1,530 Vermont residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Vermont is the top Peace Corps volunteer-producing state in the nation on a per capita basis. Fifty-two residents of the Green Mountain State are currently serving in the Peace Corps. In 2015, the Burlington-South Burlington metro area also ranked No. 3 nationally for per-capita production of Peace Corps volunteers, with 18 area residents serving overseas.

There has never been a better time to apply to Peace Corps, and reforms have made the 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 at www.peacecorps.gov/openings.

 

About volunteers in Tonga: There are 41 Volunteers in Tonga working with their communities on education projects. During their service in Tonga, Volunteers learn to speak Tongan. More than 1,650 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Tonga 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 tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter.

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