BY JILL WHALEN
Katrina Heiser was accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for the eastern Caribbean on Monday to begin training as a primary English literacy volunteer.
“My dad was the first person to spark my interest in it,” Heiser, of Drums, said.
She will complete her pre-service training on the island of Saint Lucia. She will spend three months with a host family and learn the area’s language and culture. Dialects include Vincentian/Grenadian and French Creole, she said.
“I want to become immersed into the culture and become an active member of the community,” Heiser said.
After acquiring the necessary skills, she will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in the eastern Caribbean, where she will live and work for two years with locals. She’ll either stay in Saint Lucia or transfer to the island nations of Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent or the Grenadines.
She will work with individuals and partner organizations to develop projects that will improve the quality of life.
“I am looking forward to meeting my students and being able to apply what I’ve been learning in college. Volunteers all work in primary schools with the goal of enhancing the literacy skills of their students,” she said.
All in all, she said, there is so much to look forward to.
“However, I will miss my family and hot showers, but absence is said to make the heart grow fonder,” Heiser said.
A 2015 graduate of Hazleton Area High School, she graduated from Bloomsburg University with a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education in May. She also received an associate degree in applied sciences from Luzerne County Community College, where she served as a peer tutor and assisted with new student orientations.
She also tutored second grade reading and first grade math.
She is the daughter of Mark Heiser and joins 291 Pennsylvania residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 8,670 Pennsylvanians who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.