WASHINGTON, July 2, 2015 – Tiffany Bridges, 23, of Salemburg, N.C., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart July 6 for Costa Rica to begin training as youth development coordinator. Bridges will live and work in a community to empower youth to make informed decisions about their education, health and lifestyles.
“During my undergraduate studies at NC State, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Guatemala. It was my first time traveling outside of the United States and it was an experience that allowed me to grow as a person. I was able to see another country, live with a host family, improve my Spanish skills and volunteer with a program meant to help those in need. Since that experience, I have been looking for an opportunity where I can have a similar experience and utilize my degree in social work. The Peace Corps will allow me that opportunity. The Peace Corps will allow me to gain knowledge of another culture, become proficient in another language and help those of a vulnerable population,” said Bridges of her desire to join the Peace Corps.
Bridges is the daughter of Angie and Gene Jones, of Holly Ridge, N.C., and a graduate of Aberdeen High School, in Aberdeen, Md. She then attended North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, N.C., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work. Bridges also earned a Master of Social Work in May 2015 from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in Charlotte, N.C. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she interned with Mayan Families, in Panajachel, Guatemala, and distributed essential vitamins to local children, conducted home visits to access cookstoves and prepared meals for elderly community members.
During the first three months of her service, Bridges will live with a host family in Costa Rica to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Bridges will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Costa Rica, where she will live and work for two years with the local people. Her projects will focus on positive youth development, lifeskills and leadership for local low-income, resource-limited youth in at-risk communities.
“As a social worker, I look for opportunities that will allow me to grow, broaden my cultural competence and give me experience working with different cultures and vulnerable populations. By serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica, I will have the opportunity to help another country as well as develop myself. Spending two years in Costa Rica will allow me to develop my Spanish skills and broaden my cultural competence,” Bridges said.
Bridges will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Costa Rica and help Bridges develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.
“After my service ends, I will be able to use what I have learned as a social worker during college and what I have learned in the Peace Corps to effectively help my clients, specifically those of different cultures, when I start my career as a social worker in the United States,” Bridges concluded.
Bridges joins the 148 North Carolina residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 4,146 North Carolina residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.
There has never been a better time to apply to Peace Corps, and reforms have made the process simpler, faster, and more personalized than ever before. In 2014, applications reached a 22-year high for the agency, with more than 17,000 Americans taking the first step toward international service. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Browse available volunteer positions at www.peacecorps.gov/openings.
About Peace Corps/Costa Rica: There are 122 volunteers in Costa Rica working with their communities on projects in youth and community development and English education. During their service in Costa Rica, volunteers learn to speak Spanish. More than 3,565 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Costa Rica since the program was established in 1963.