Is there adventure in your future? | NevadaAppeal.com

Is there adventure in your future?

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com

Rachel Gross’ interest in the Peace Corps was kindled at a young age by an aunt and uncle who had served as volunteers in Tunisia in the 1970s.

But next month, Gross heads off on her own adventure – 27 months as a health volunteer in Guatemala.

“I heard all these wonderful stories from my aunt and uncle, and I always wanted to do something really big with my life. I love the idea of working with people, and I don’t have anything holding me in Carson City,” Gross said.

“I have always enjoyed experiencing other cultures, but have never had the chance to be fully immersed in one other than my own,” she said. “After a lot of consideration, I felt that this really was the opportunity of a lifetime to put myself out there by teaching and learning from others in a completely unfamiliar environment.”

But Gross also credits her parents for encouraging her.

“My parents really helped inspire me,” Gross said. “I remember sitting down to dinner with them and some family friends and getting excited about it. They kind of got the ball rolling. They were so supportive.”

Gross, 25, is a 2003 Douglas High School graduate who earned her degree in psychology from the University of Nevada in 2008.

After a three-month training period in Guatemala, her two years of service will begin. She will focus on training health promoters and rural families in health and hygiene practices.

Living with a host family, Gross will study Guatemala’s languages and cultures.

“After my training, they’ll decide what site I’ll go to, so I don’t know yet exactly where I’ll be located,” she said.

Gross will speak about her upcoming Peace Corps assignment during a Carson City information session from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday in the Sierra Room of the community center, 851 E. William St.

Florence Phillips, English as a Second Language In-Home Program of Northern Nevada executive director, will be there to share her experiences as a three-time Peace Corps volunteer.

The meeting also will include a presentation by a Peace Corps recruiter, a movie and a question and answer period, said Nathan Hale Sargent, Peace Corps spokesman for the San Francisco Regional Office.

The Peace Corps provides volunteers to 76 countries in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, he said.

“We get requests from countries with the skill sets they are looking for,” Sargent said. “We look at an applicant’s degrees, work history and volunteer history to make a good match. Right now we need additional people for fall in our English education programs worldwide.”

The application process can take nine months to a year, but there is no upper age limit, he said.