2009.04.14: April 14, 2009: Headlines: COS - Dominica: Livingston Daily: Julie Cieszkowski finds true calling in Peace Corps Dominica

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominica: Peace Corps Dominica: Peace Corps Dominica: Newest Stories: 2009.04.14: April 14, 2009: Headlines: COS - Dominica: Livingston Daily: Julie Cieszkowski finds true calling in Peace Corps Dominica

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Julie Cieszkowski finds true calling in Peace Corps Dominica

Julie Cieszkowski finds true calling in Peace Corps Dominica

Once she graduates from the training in May, she will begin promoting healthy lifestyles, developing after-school activities and initiating educational programs on the island of Dominica. She will serve there for two years beginning April 22. "I have officially been assigned to a village council, and in addition I plan to work with the youth council, who volunteers around the village, has retreats, et cetera," she said. Cieszkowski also plans to become involved in a student organization fighting against AIDS and become involved in the primary and secondary schools. What exactly she will be doing has not yet been determined. "Integration is a large of the beginning months of the Peace Corps," she explained. "I am currently working to become familiar with my area; that is my main task right now. I meet new people every day, learn the culture norms, eat (and) cook the local food, discover the educational system, adjust to public transportation (and) roads and many, many more experiences."

Julie Cieszkowski finds true calling in Peace Corps Dominica

Hartland grad finds true calling in Peace Corps

By Lisa Roose-Church
DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

April 14, 2009

Caption: Hartland High School graduate Julie Cieszkowski stands with two students on the island of Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean. The 23-year-old woman is working in the area through the Peace Corps. (Submitted photo)

Julie Cieszkowski wanted an adventure.

She has found one in the Eastern Caribbean, where she is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.

"I was drawn to the Peace Corps by the opportunity to travel, work with youth and to be involved in the organization of sports and healthy living," the 23-year-old Hartland Township woman said.

Cieszkowski left for her adventure in the Eastern Caribbean on Feb. 24 to undergo three months of training. The plan was to spend those three months living with a host family to become fully immersed in the country's language and culture.

Once she graduates from the training in May, she will begin promoting healthy lifestyles, developing after-school activities and initiating educational programs on the island of Dominica. She will serve there for two years beginning April 22.

"I have officially been assigned to a village council, and in addition I plan to work with the youth council, who volunteers around the village, has retreats, et cetera," she said.

Cieszkowski also plans to become involved in a student organization fighting against AIDS and become involved in the primary and secondary schools. What exactly she will be doing has not yet been determined.

"Integration is a large of the beginning months of the Peace Corps," she explained. "I am currently working to become familiar with my area; that is my main task right now. I meet new people every day, learn the culture norms, eat (and) cook the local food, discover the educational system, adjust to public transportation (and) roads and many, many more experiences."

Cieszkowski is discovering differences between education here and on the island. Class sizes there are smaller, but teachers are limited. There are also limited after-school activities and sports on the island.

"The educational system is improving and slowly developing," she said.

There also are similarities. School on the island runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the methods of teaching math and literacy "are basically the same as the U.S," Cieszkowski said.
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Cieszkowski is a Hartland High School graduate who earned a bachelor's degree in 2008 from Albion College in psychology with minors in sociology and religious studies and a concentration in human services.
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She has worked at the Majestic Golf Course, Huntmore Golf Club and in the restaurant business at Stillwater Grill in Brighton and Buon Gusto Italian Bistro as well as the former Fire Rock in Hartland Township.

Last summer, she worked at the Spring Hill camp in Evart as a counselor and completed internships working alongside a chaplain for a nursing home in South Lyon and a social worker at a nursing home.

She said she chose the Peace Corps after wondering what she would do following her college graduation.

"(Peace Corps) popped into my head," she said. "I researched it and was instantly excited. I wanted a new adventure, places to see and people to meet. I felt like PC was the perfect next step for me being unsure of where, when and how I wanted to use my psychology degree."

Cieszkowski said she wants to be "a part of a community in another culture, leave a lasting impression somewhere and make lifelong friends across the world ... but the initial choice was seizing the opportunity to travel to a foreign country and make an unforgettable experience."

The most important aspects of her life, Cieszkowski said, are her faith and family.

"Working to serve others and go(ing) where the good Lord leads me," she said, are priorities.

Contact Daily Press & Argus reporter Lisa Roose-Church at (517) 552-2846 or at lrchurch@gannett.com.




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Headlines: April, 2009; Peace Corps Dominica; Directory of Dominica RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Dominica RPCVs





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Story Source: Livingston Daily

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