Local woman prepares for the Peace Corps | SierraSun.com

Local woman prepares for the Peace Corps

Jason Kelley/Sierra SunCarnelian Bay resident Dallase Scott is preparing to ship out to the Eastern Caribbean for two years with the Peace Corps.

Dallase Scott is ready to take on a new adventure in her pursuit to change the world.

On July 26, the Carnelian Bay resident will become a volunteer in the Peace Corps.

Scott, who graduated from North Tahoe High School in 2001, will work in the Eastern Caribbean islands off the coast of Venezuela as a community development worker for 27 months. She could do anything from HIV/AIDS awareness to developing youth programs to addressing environmental issues. She will spend three months training in language, cultural differences and work skills, and two years working.

“Growing up here, I always have an underlying passion for the environment,” Scott said. “I don’t want to be one of those people who forget after college. I want to continue this motion. I want to make a difference.”

After graduating from Chico State University in December with a major in psychology, Scott worked as an environmental coordinator for the university putting on a sustainability conference and working with the community. She also spent two weeks backpacking in Costa Rica and went to Belize.

“Peace Corps kept being brought up in conversation,” Scott said. “It feels right. It’s where I’m suppose to be. I’m following my intuition.”

The year-long process involved an online application, writing three essays, giving finger prints, medical history, three letters of recommendation and an interview.

Scott said she doesn’t know what to expect from the experience, but is going in with an open mind.

“I have come to the realization that I can’t daydream what it will be like. I know it’s going to be a life-changing experience, it’s going to be hot and there will be hurricanes,” Scott said with a laugh. “At this point, it is scarier to think of not going than the actual thought of going.”

It was the late 1960s. The Vietnam War was in full swing, Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, the Beatles just released “Sgt. Pepper’s,” and Tahoe City resident Stuart Honse was in the Peace Corps.

“I was observing the world from a different perspective,” said Honse, now a 64-year-old retired banker. “It left an imprint.”

Honse entered the Peace Corps at the age of 25 when the agency was just in its fledgling stage. He worked in Venezuela as a community development organizer, implementing a new physical education routine for a peasant school and teaching students how to organize a chicken-growing company.

“You couldn’t get fresh chicken in the town I lived in,” Honse said. “I thought these kids could grow chickens. It was this business setup in the really rural school with peasant kids. I went back a year later and it was still set up. They had paid off their loan and each kid made a few bucks.”

Honse said his time in the Peace Corps was hard work but not “earth shattering.” He talks humbly of his time in the Andes, but a smile crosses his face when asked about it.

“I’ve thought of going back in,” Honse admits. “I made very little contribution to the people in Venezuela, but they had an impact on me.”

The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then-Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.

From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship. Since that time, more than 182,000 Peace Corps volunteers have been invited by 138 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education, information technology and environmental preservation. For more information, visit http://www.peacecorp.gov.

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