Rachel Pradarelli, 22, of Muskego, Wis., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Paraguay Jan. 29 to begin training as a community health volunteer. Pradarelli will live and work at the community level to make a difference by working on hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, dental health, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, and child and maternal health projects.
“I've found my passion for volunteering abroad and was ready to commit to a long-term program,” Pradarelli said. “I am ready to put my skills and knowledge to use in order to make an impact on the lives of those I am blessed to meet during my time as a Peace Corps volunteer.”
Pradarelli is the daughter of Janet and Dennis Pradarelli and a 2009 graduate of Muskego High School. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2013.
“The endless opportunities I've had and the incredible people I've met at UW-Madison have influenced me to take this next step in my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer,” Pradarelli said. “The desire to learn about and embrace a new culture, share my own culture, and put my skills to use in order to better the lives of those around me have all stemmed from the ample experiences UW has offered. I could not be more thankful for that.”
Like many Peace Corps volunteers, Pradarelli has been making a difference in the U.S. for years and will apply her experiences to her overseas assignment. She was a volunteer coordinator and member of AmeriCorps’ Project Grow program, which focused on enhancing Madison preschoolers’ literacy and social skills. She was also a youth soccer coach, day camp teaching assistant, and a research assistant at UW.
During the first three months of her service, Pradarelli will live with a host family in Paraguay to learn the local language and integrate into the local culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills that will help her make a lasting difference, Pradarelli will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Paraguay where she will serve for two years.
Pradarelli will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Paraguay and help Pradarelli 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.
“I am looking forward to working directly with public health organizations and professionals in order to coordinate sustainable projects. I cannot wait to meet a new family and develop long-lasting relationships with those I encounter on this journey,” she said. “And what a blessing to be placed in a country where soccer is played anytime, anywhere.”
Pradarelli joins the 213 Wisconsin residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 5,846 Wisconsin residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.
About Peace Corps in Paraguay: There are currently 237 volunteers in Paraguay working in the areas of agriculture, youth and community development, environment and health. During their service in Paraguay, volunteers learn to speak the local languages, including Guaraní and Spanish. More than 3,780 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Paraguay since the program was established in 1966.
About the Peace Corps: As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences – and a global outlook – back to the United States, enriching the lives of those around them. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more.
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