January 20, 2004 - St. Louis Post Dispatch: Oceilee Mitchell takes leap of faith going to Philippines in Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Philippines: Peace Corps Philippines: The Peace Corps in the Philippines: January 20, 2004 - St. Louis Post Dispatch: Oceilee Mitchell takes leap of faith going to Philippines in Peace Corps

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Oceilee Mitchell takes leap of faith going to Philippines in Peace Corps

Oceilee Mitchell takes leap of faith going to Philippines in Peace Corps

Area woman takes leap of faith into Peace Corps
Jim Merkel
Of the Suburban Journals
updated: 01/20/2004 09:09 AM

For years, Oceilee Mitchell felt the tug. Now she's given in and has signed up for a two-year stint in the Peace Corps.

The 28-year-old Gate District resident is one of a group of 37 Americans going to the Philippines at the end of this month to serve in the Peace Corps.

"It's a little bit more fulfilling," said Mitchell, who quit a job as an automobile sales person with Enterprise Car Sales to follow what she sees as a call from God. "It's an opportunity to help others that I wasn't getting with my own job."

Mitchell, a Roman Catholic, will work with teens and young adults as a youth business advisor. She'll teach job skills to teens or young adults who are out of school.

She's certainly not going for the money.

"You get a monthly stipend to live on. In my case, it's $130 a month," Mitchell said. With a favorable exchange rate, it's a good amount of money in the Philippines.

"At the end of your two years of service, you earn $225 for every month of service," Mitchell said.

When she told her friends and family members her plans, she got a mixed response.

"I have some friends that are ecstatic. My family's actually very supportive," Mitchell said. "I've had resistance from other friends. One of my closest friends thought I had lost my mind."

Michell sees the trip as a chance to see another culture in a way tourists wouldn't.

She's already had a taste. When she attended St. Louis Community College at Meramec, she joined the International Club. This gave her a chance to meet many people from overseas and to look beyond stereotypes.

Mitchell went on to receive a bachelor in communications with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in marketing from St. Louis University.

Her schooling will continue when she starts work in the Peace Corps. She'll fly to San Francisco on Jan. 28 for brief safety training, shots and orientation before heading for the Philippines.

In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, she will receive three months of technical, language, cross-cultural, health and safety training. At that time, she'll find out specifically what she'll be doing and where she'll go.

Next will come three months with a host family before she's on her own.

Besides her day work, she will be required to do community work in the evening, such as running a library or hosting a sports team.

She acknowledges she has a bit of anxiety, especially over concerns about terrorists. "For the most part, I've stopped watching the news, and I put my faith in God that everything will work out."

Mitchell feels she's had a calling for some time. In fact, she filled out the paperwork once before but then said "Forget it." Later, though, she decided to give in.

A goal in the Philippines for Mitchell is to present a good aspect of America, "kind of dispel in some ways the dirty American image that a lot of them have."

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Story Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Recruitment; COS - Philippines



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