August 28, 2005: Headlines: Hispanic Issues: Monterey Herald: Alyxe Lett has joined the Peace Corps in hope of recapturing her lost Latin American roots

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Hispanic Studies: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Hispanic Issues and Hispanic Studies : August 28, 2005: Headlines: Hispanic Issues: Monterey Herald: Alyxe Lett has joined the Peace Corps in hope of recapturing her lost Latin American roots

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Alyxe Lett has joined the Peace Corps in hope of recapturing her lost Latin American roots

Alyxe Lett has joined the Peace Corps in hope of recapturing her lost Latin American roots

As a toddler, Alyxe Lett was adopted from an isolated mountain village in Colombia. She was brought to live in the United States with her adoptive parents, Pat Boylan and John Lett. "It's always been in me, but I think in the last few years I've learned to speak Spanish better and have traveled and now feel it's time for me to explore the area of the world where I came from and help the people there," said Lett, a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College, where she studied sociology and psychology.

Alyxe Lett has joined the Peace Corps in hope of recapturing her lost Latin American roots

Helping others is in woman's roots

As a toddler, Alyxe Lett was adopted from an isolated mountain village in Colombia. She was brought to live in the United States with her adoptive parents, Pat Boylan and John Lett.

She grew up in Pacific Grove, Toro Park and Prunedale with a spirit of helping others becoming deeply imbedded in her life.

In high school, Lett traveled to China. In college, she worked in Philadelphia as a volunteer for a welfare and human rights organization in the city's poorest neighborhood. She also tutored disadvantaged school children in Kalamazoo, Mich., earlier this year.

Now 22, Lett has joined the Peace Corps in hope of recapturing her lost Latin American roots.

"It's always been in me, but I think in the last few years I've learned to speak Spanish better and have traveled and now feel it's time for me to explore the area of the world where I came from and help the people there," said Lett, a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College, where she studied sociology and psychology.

Part of her studies took her to Costa Rica to run an English course and to work with the poor to help improve their health. For a nearly two-month-long assignment she led exercise classes for seniors and fondly remembers getting them to dance to Michael Jackson songs.

"All my life I've been into helping others, helping the underprivileged and learning to appreciate new cultures," said Lett, who returned to Costa Rica last summer to work and write for a Spanish-language magazine that tracks political and socioeconomic events in Central and South America.

"I've studied the countries and know under what conditions people live. I want to do my part to make something better for others because I feel this strong connection," she said.

While she has not yet been assigned a country where she will work, Lett knows it will be in either Central or South America. She will leave when she is medically cleared. A target date of mid-September has been pushed back because she will need to complete more medical paperwork.

"I had hoped to go back to Colombia, but they don't have Peace Corps programs there," she said. "I really want to be close to Colombia, though. It's a big dream of mine to go there."

One idea in the back of Lett's mind is to return to Colombia and find her biological parents. Her adoptive parents have been very supportive of the idea, she said, and always told her that when she was old enough they would help her with her search.

"I don't know too much about it, just that my mother was young and very, very poor and I was given up to a Colombian foster family for my first two years," she said. "I do want to learn more, but it has to be when the time is right."

Knowing that she was born into poverty and was given a chance to thrive by a loving, encouraging family who had big plans for her clearly drives Lett in her desire to return the gesture.

"I am very fortunate," she said. "My parents have given me so much to be thankful for. I just want to do my part to help others who have nothing or who could use help to make their lives a little better."
M. Cristina Medina can be reached at xtinamedina@aol.com.





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Story Source: Monterey Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Hispanic Issues

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