Local Peace Corps volunteer is heading out, two years after the operation suspended
Sep 12, 2022, 5:50 PM
LAYTON, Utah – At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries.
Right now, the first Peace Corps volunteers are returning to overseas service at a critical time globally. A recent college graduate from Layton, Utah, will be among the first volunteers headed to Peru.
Countries worldwide struggle with fundamental issues concerning healthcare, social and political well-being, and the environment. Kevin Jones said he is eager to help Peruvians improve their lives.
“Excited and nervous. But far more excited than nervous,” Jones said about his mindset headed for the Peace Corps.
He is embarking on a major life adventure in Peru, motivated to join the Peace Corps to serve a new community, improve his Spanish, and get out of his comfort zone.
“It’s mainly teaching English, probably assisting with math,” Jones said in an interview last week in Layton. He is in Washington, DC, getting ready to leave for Perú on Wednesday.
During Jones’s two-year volunteer commitment, he’ll focus on youth development, helping young Peruvians improve their job opportunities.
“We’re working with students and the parents of the students to try to help them work together so they can learn the skills they need to succeed,” he explained.
Jones graduated from the University of Utah in the spring of 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in quantitative analysis of markets and organizations and landed a good job with a healthcare software company in Wisconsin.
“My main job was testing software,” he said. “And, I guess I didn’t feel too challenged or anything. So, I wanted to try something a bit more exciting.”
His work with the Peace Corps will be an opportunity to not only help Peruvians but also define his own life and explore his family roots.
“My mother and her side of the family are from Peru,” Jones said.
Those grandparents grew up in a small town and then moved to Lima a half-century ago.
“Because that’s where the jobs, and basically a better life was possible,” Jones said. “My mother, she’s a hard worker, studied hard, became a nurse in Peru, and a midwife and moved her way up to the US.”
His family, at first, was surprised and concerned by his decision.
“They think I’m poco loco, a little crazy,” Jones said. “They worked so hard to come here. But then I’m going out there. I guess it could be considered a little disrespectful. But, either way, they’ve all been supporting.”
They think he’s a little crazy, but he has his family’s support. Jones is among several dozen volunteers from across the country headed to Peru. After three months of training in Lima, he will be assigned to an area outside the capital.