story you are about to read is about a very courageous young lady who saw
the need of others more important than her own personal goals. Grace gave
up the city life in the US in 2001 to enlist in the US Peace Corps
Volunteer Program. She was assigned to the central American country of
Panama where she assisted the local artisans in improving their sales
techniques. She also gave computer courses to teachers and had them
surfing the super highway in as little as three months. Good deeds like
the ones you are about to read is what makes the world a better place.
Following is Grace's story.
Campbell was assigned to the Community Economic Development Program in the
Republic of Panama. She began
the requisite three-month, in-country training on May 7, 2001.
The Peace Corps Panama training integrates language acquisition,
technical skills and cross-cultural adaptation skills in a community
setting where the volunteer lives with a Panamanian host family.
Technical skills training includes: basic small business
administration, adult learning techniques and group facilitation skills.
After the language interview it was determined that she did not
need classes, she took the opportunity to learn more about Panama history,
she also served as a translator for her fellow trainees.
officially swore in as a Community Economic Development volunteer on
August 27, 2001 and was assigned to the town of La Arena de Chitre,
Herrera, located on the Azuero peninsula in southwestern Panama.
La Arena has a population of 10,000, the majority of whom are
self-employed as ceramics artisans and farmers. Grace was assigned to work with the ceramics artisans in an
advisory capacity. She initiated a youth group at the public Library.
established contact with the artisans immediately upon arriving and within
three weeks she began to work in an advisory capacity, they started a
credit committee and attended a seminar to become part of an export
venture. Grace immediately obtained two Peace Corps computers and started
a computer course with ten teachers and professor.
Within three months the teachers became computer literate and also
learned to navigate the Internet.
teaching extended beyond the classroom, she worked with artisans in their
workshops to improve accounting and inventory as well as promote sales
although the Panamanian economy in general has suffered a recession.
Grace participated in local artisanís fairs with the artisanís
to assess and critique their sales techniques.
She invited outside speakers to give workshops in product design
and innovation as well as production techniques.
She invited artisans from La Arena to travel and to participate in
seminars and conferences given by the Peace Corps and sales.
She attended association meetings providing support and advice when
dedicated the majority of her time to the artisans. However, she also taught a 6-month computer course, geared
toward local women with limited education. 14 students completed the
course, a direct result of the training received.
In addition to small business administration, Grace led self
esteem, gender and leadership workshops serving 24 local children and
worked not only locally but nationally as well.
She chaired the Scholarship committee of the Peace Corps Women in
Development/Gender Awareness Development (WID/GAD) committee from March
2001 to February 2003. During
this time, she participated in the organization and coordination of two
national women and youth conferences; worked with the committee to
complete grant proposal for upcoming seminars, she chaired the Scholarship
Committee raising funds and providing secondary school scholarships for 18
impoverished girls; and she facilitated workshops in self esteem,
leadership and gender for a total of 150 girls, 60 women and 30 men from
was involved in this project from the early stages of budgeting and
planning to the actual facilitation of the three-day conference.
chair of the Scholarship Fundraising Committee, Grace helped organized a
wine and cheese event attended by Panamanian businesses and embassy
workers, raising $1,700.00 for the scholarship fund.
She also played an integral role in other fundraising activities
all of her projects, Grace drew upon her considerable patience, dedication
and leadership skills. Grace
improved her teaching techniques with the schoolís teacher and students.
In working with the artisans, she refined her communication and project
planning abilities. And as
WID/GAD Chairperson Grace developed valuable skills in proposal writing,
event planning and group facilitation.
She proved more than able to adapt to life in Panama and worked
well with a wide variety of people with varied educational, cultural and
Pursuant to Section 5(f) of the Peace Corps Act, 22
USC 2504(f), as amended, any former Volunteer employed by the United
States Government following his/her Peace Corps Volunteer Service is
entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps service credited
for purposes of retirement, seniority, reduction in force, leave, and
other privileges based on length of Government service.
That service shall not be credited toward completion of the
probationary or trial period of any service requirement for career
is to certify in accordance with Executive Order 11103 of April 10, 1963,
that Grace Mary Campbell served successfully as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Her service ended on July 24,2003
She is therefore eligible to be appointed as a career-conditional
employee in the competitive civil service on a non-competitive basis.
benefit under the Executive Order extends for a period of one year after
termination of Volunteer service, except that the employing agency may
extend the period for up to three years for a former Volunteer who enters
military service, pursues studies at a recognized institution of higher
learning, or engages in other activities that, in the view of the
appointing agency, warrant extension of the period.