February 6, 2005: Headlines: COS - Morocco: Orlando Sentinel: In one month, Tina Wills will begin a new journey in Morocco

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Morocco: Peace Corps Morocco : The Peace Corps in Morocco: February 6, 2005: Headlines: COS - Morocco: Orlando Sentinel: In one month, Tina Wills will begin a new journey in Morocco

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In one month, Tina Wills will begin a new journey in Morocco

In one month, Tina Wills will begin a new journey in Morocco

In one month, Tina Wills will begin a new journey in Morocco

From Polk to the Peace Corps

By Amy L. Edwards | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted February 6, 2005

Tina Wills is leaving all she knows: her Lakeland apartment, her job as a coordinator in Polk County's recreation department, her family in Delaware and even American soil.

In one month, Wills will begin a new journey in Morocco.

This is no vacation. It's a voluntary, two-year assignment in a country she's never seen where the people speak a language she has yet to learn.

Wills, 33, is fulfilling her dream to join the Peace Corps.

"I'm getting pretty excited about it," she said.

Volunteering isn't new for Wills. Throughout college in Pennsylvania, she was active with a public-service organization. When she moved to Polk County, Wills joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay.

"Volunteering has been a very important part of my life," she said. "I've always been involved with volunteer work."

As a recreation-department coordinator, Wills has done everything from coordinating summer camps to initiating the county's Movie in the Park program.

Don Wilson, director of Polk's leisure services department, said Wills is an exemplary, energetic employee.

"She's great," Wilson said. "We would rehire her in a heartbeat."

It's been more than a year since Wills began her application process for the Peace Corps.

In March, she will begin several months of training in Morocco, which includes learning Berber, an Arab dialect spoken in that country.

After the training, she'll begin her two-year assignment as an environmental educator for youth.

In that role, Wills said, she will teach children lessons such as the importance of replanting trees if many in their area have been cut down. After the lesson, Wills said, she will help the children plant a new tree.

Wills said her experience as a volunteer and her job with Polk County, which she has held for almost five years, have prepared her for the Peace Corps.

"I enjoy working with people and look forward to this new challenge," she said.

Carrie Varnadoe, a mentor manager with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, said Wills was generous with her time and always put her "little sister" first.

"She's very generous and giving to others," Varnadoe said.

"She is a wonderful volunteer and I wish we had more like her."

Amy L. Edwards can be reached at 863-422-3395 or aledwards@orlandosentinel.com.

When this story was posted in February 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

February 5, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: February 5 2005 No: 420 February 5, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Peace Corps swears in 12 new Country Directors 4 Feb
Kenneth Hawkinson studies oral traditions of Mali 4 Feb
Tony Hall urges politicians to bring religious faith to office 4 Feb
Dodd opposes Gonzales nomination 3 Feb
Dr. Robert Zeigler to head Rice Research Institute 3 Feb
Taylor Hackford going into television with "E-Ring" 2 Feb
President Bush's past promises in State of the Union 1 Feb
Moreigh Wolf says gays cannot volunteer with partners 1 Feb
Coleman to chair Peace Corps Subcommittee 1 Feb
Vasquez assesses need in Southeast Asia 31 Jan
James Bullington says Bush Inaugural speaks to PC 31 Jan
Allen Andersson creates foundation to promote libraries 31 Jan
Joseph Opala to film "Priscilla's Homecoming" 31 Jan
Donna Shalala embarks on aggressive UM expansion 31 Jan
Thomas Dichter says Poor Countries Need Smarter Aid 30 Jan
Alberto Ibargüen to head Knight Foundation 28 Jan
Helen Sheehy organizes "Endangered Peoples" exhibit 28 Jan

RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service Date: January 30 2005 No: 405 RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service
RPCV Groups mobilize to support their Countries of Service. Over 200 RPCVS have already applied to the Crisis Corps to provide Tsunami Recovery aid, RPCVs have written a letter urging President Bush and Congress to aid Democracy in Ukraine, and RPCVs are writing NBC about a recent episode of the "West Wing" and asking them to get their facts right about Turkey.
RPCVs contend for Academy Awards  Date: January 31 2005 No: 416 RPCVs contend for Academy Awards
Bolivia RPCV Taylor Hackford's film "Ray" is up for awards in six categories including best picture, best actor and best director. "Autism Is a World" co-produced by Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen and nominated for best Documentary Short Subject, seeks to increase awareness of developmental disabilities. Colombian film "El Rey," previously in the running for the foreign-language award, includes the urban legend that PCVs teamed up with El Rey to bring cocaine to U.S. soil.
Ask Not Date: January 18 2005 No: 388 Ask Not
As our country prepares for the inauguration of a President, we remember one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and how his words inspired us. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion Date: January 8 2005 No: 373 Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
RPCVs active in new session of Congress Date: January 8 2005 No: 374 RPCVs active in new session of Congress
In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.
RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid  Date: January 4 2005 No: 366 Latest: RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid
Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?
The World's Broken Promise to our Children Date: December 24 2004 No: 345 The World's Broken Promise to our Children
Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.

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Story Source: Orlando Sentinel

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