March 27, 2005: Headlines: COS - Ukraine: Magic Valle times-News: Ruth Streeter, a Peace Corps volunteer, now teaches English to young students in Ukraine, where she had a first-row seat to the so-called "Orange Revolution."

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ukraine: Peace Corps Ukraine : The Peace Corps in the Ukraine: March 27, 2005: Headlines: COS - Ukraine: Magic Valle times-News: Ruth Streeter, a Peace Corps volunteer, now teaches English to young students in Ukraine, where she had a first-row seat to the so-called "Orange Revolution."

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Saturday, April 02, 2005 - 10:21 pm: Edit Post

Ruth Streeter, a Peace Corps volunteer, now teaches English to young students in Ukraine, where she had a first-row seat to the so-called "Orange Revolution."

Ruth Streeter, a Peace Corps volunteer, now teaches English to young students in Ukraine, where she had a first-row seat to the so-called Orange Revolution.

Ruth Streeter, a Peace Corps volunteer, now teaches English to young students in Ukraine, where she had a first-row seat to the so-called "Orange Revolution."

A home in Ukraine ... Former Times-News journalist witnesses Orange Revolution

Caption: Ruth Streeter, a former Times-News assistant city editor shown at the far left, helps one of her Ukrainian students with her reading. Streeter witnessed the recent 'Orange Revolution' that shook the political landscape of Ukraine.

Originally published Sunday, March 27, 2005

By Lorraine Cavener

Times-News correspondent

TWIN FALLS -- When the revolution began, Ruth Streeter watched many of her colleagues go on strike.

But the former reporter and editor at The Times-News wasn't witnessing a newsroom mutiny. Streeter, a Peace Corps volunteer, now teaches English to young students in Ukraine, where she had a first-row seat to the so-called "Orange Revolution."

"I saw groups of little old ladies standing on the side of the highway waving their orange -- women who would otherwise be selling their sunflower seeds for pennies a pound on a street corner," Streeter said in an e-mail. "It's been amazing and inspiring to be witness to all that."

Through a widespread popular movement, Western-leaning Viktor Yuschenko was elected president in December after first being declared the loser a month earlier in an election marred by corruption.

Streeter said Peace Corps volunteers have been instructed to remain completely apolitical, so she chose her words carefully when asked by her former employer to comment on what she witnessed.

"Whenever anyone asks which side the U.S. supports, I say that the U.S. supports democracy," she said. "To me it's been wonderful to see Ukrainian people -- people who everyone thinks are passive and pessimistic -- stand up for their country's future."

Streeter left The Times-News in July 2003 after about four years with the paper and headed for Ukraine soon after.

For the past year she has worked in Radekhiv, near the Polish border and about 70 miles north of the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

"I live in the western part of the country that is pro-Yuschenko, so there is orange everywhere," she said in her e-mail. "People wearing armbands, orange hats and scarves, coats."

Until Streeter joined the Peace Corps she had not had any teaching experience. She spent three months in training in a small town outside of the capital Kiev. She lived with a host family and taught some English classes at a local school, learned the basics of teaching, and learned Ukrainian with three other American volunteers.

"Ruth is one of our special volunteers," said Bohdan Yarema, a Peace Corps manager who oversees many the organization's activities in Ukraine. "About 15 months ago she was assigned to serve in a small town, where Peace Corps had never been represented before. Since then she's been not only instructing kids on English and journalism, but also creating a very favorable image of the organization (and America at large) in the community of Radekhiv."

Streeter teaches conversational English, U.S. Country Studies -- which is akin to social studies -- and American literature to high school students. She teaches 18 hours a week and has between 10 and 20 students in her classes. Her school specializes in English, so children begin learning the language from the age of 6.

"So in addition to teaching language, I'm also able to teach kids critical thinking, debate, civic education, more than just the language itself," she said.

Streeter said she loves her job because she gathers the feeling that the children are gaining knowledge in a way they hadn't known before. Students in Ukraine are taught in methods that are different than in the U.S.

"The system of education in Ukraine is based heavily on memorization -- especially with English," Streeter said. "Kids are great at memorizing entire texts of English, but ask them to think about the meaning of what they've just read, and it's only the most brilliant students who can do so."

Some Ukraine educators are realizing the disadvantages of such methodologies, she said.

"And luckily, my school is quite progressive, so some of the teachers are already trying to get students to think independently," Streeter said. "So it's great for me to be part of the move away from those educational traditions that are not particularly beneficial."

Streeter said one thing that sometimes makes her job difficult is the mentality that education isn't important because money buys everything.

"Corruption strikes at all levels, and buyoffs are a form of survival," she said. "And it's hard to make kids realize the importance of their education (i.e. the importance of not cheating) when the adults believe that it's money that matters."

Streeter misses her friends, family and weekend snowboarding trips, plus mountain-biking. But she hasn't been lonely in Ukraine.

"I have been able to make some wonderful friends here," she said. "I am the only American in my town of 10,000. But many of the teachers speak great English, and I've become good friends with them."

She has some Ukrainian friends who speak no English, too.

"Ukraine is such a relationship-oriented country, that friends always make time for each other," she said. "When Ukrainians have days off, they spend them with friends and family. People are rarely alone. Families don't only consist of parents and children, but grandparents. Married couples often live with their parents. People think I must be terribly lonely and sad because I live alone."

Streeter said her small school has become a family to her.

"I love my students and my colleagues. I am rarely lonely and never bored." she said.

Her students and colleagues like her, too.

"Every time I visit her site, or talk to Ruth's colleagues on the phone I hear nothing but praise and admiration," Yarema said. "Both students and colleagues like and respect Ruth."

When Streeter comes back to the United States in December, she will have been in Ukraine for 27 months. But she said she's considering staying another year.

Times-News correspondent Lorraine Cavener can be reached at (208) 438-8446 or

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

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Story Source: Magic Valle times-News

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



By Walter Sandell ( - on Saturday, September 02, 2006 - 7:44 am: Edit Post

I was doing a search for "Ruth Streeter," who was the first Director of Women Marines during WWII. She was also a member of the Constitutional Convention which created New Jersey's current Constitution.
I worked with the Peace Corps while stationed in Eritrea with the Army in 1963-64.
I met my wife as a result of showing pictures to the Bell Telephone office employees where Steve Crabtree had been manager before joining the PC.
Walt Sandell

By markiza_8809 ( on Tuesday, January 03, 2012 - 12:52 pm: Edit Post

Please, help to find Ruth Streeter, my friend. Write me her mail, please.Her friend from Ukraine.

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