Our community is a major driving force behind my decision to extend my service in the Peace Corps. However, the deepest reasons come from the people who make our work possible in the Community and my support group in America. My family, coworkers and friends. Thank you for making my life better on a daily basis. Here are ten reason why I chose to stay in Ukraine another year:
- Great Support
My family and friends in America all support my decision. I consulted them before I submitted the request to extend. Also, Every member of our team has become like a family member. We have a good culture in the office and hope to increase the functionality our impact on the community. The relationships formed within our office are built to last. Most importantly, my host family, without them my goals in Ukraine would be impossible to obtain. They are fostering my growth and I am very grateful for this fact.
- Lose Small to Win Big
Now is the best time to make small mistakes. Peace Corps volunteers can gain valuable experience with every small mistake or failure. If we receive the experience now. We can create greater wins when we are on a bigger stage. SPA Committee meetings, project management, program development, and the Volunteer Leadership position are brief examples of my opportunities to grow professionally.
- Knowledge Development and Transfer
There are about 10 books in my apartment which focus on organizational development. Each day I pick up which one fancies my interest on a given day. If I want to read about leading change I can pick up Leading Change, if I want to learn about creating a successful culture I can pick up the book Soup, if I am in the mood for a general knowledge infill I can pick up The Personal MBA, and the same for conflict management, human rights, or project design and management. However, I can also transfer this knowledge in my presentations to others in my community and across Ukraine.
- Peace Corps Culture
The Peace Corps is an interesting collection of weirdos. We all have our positive and negative sides. I think the one quality most of us have in common is the fact that we all want to build partnerships. We are all bridge builders. And, there is a massive worldwide network of returned and current Peace Corps Volunteers.
- There is more work to be done
Our 2018 project plan includes a training of trainers project focused on conflict management. We are working with the Kyiv based Institute of Peace and Common Ground in order to develop leaders who are consciously aware of how to defuse conflicts and train others in our community to do the same. Also, I was select to be the Volunteer Leader for the Community Development track which is made up of just over 100 volunteers. This marks the first time in my professional career where I have legitimate power within an organizations.
- More Oppurtunities for Success
My new community has accepted me. People tell me I am an honorary Kovelian, which means they trust me. Trust is a very important element for Community Developers. Over the next year we will be able to build a network of volunteers and make quality progress with the work we do in our community.
- Dreams Become Realized through Hard Work
I have shared my vision of becoming a Foreign Service Officer on this website many times. The Peace Corps is a diplomat farmhouse. Anyone young person who looks around and complains that jobs in Washington DC require over two years of experience need to realize that organizations like the Peace Corps are built for you. I will never forget this wisdom from an online source, “millennials want to make a difference and follow our dreams, but our impatience does not allow us to make our dreams come true, because dreams take time to be realized.”
It was obvious in the first two years of service that my coworkers saw me as a child wondering around our community like a little kid at Walmart. However, they have helped me mature to the point where I have built my own capital. They can trust me to shop in the market and buy the right products.
The Leadership Development Program we started in Kovel is one of our best achievements. I want to foster this program in order to create a system of sustainable trainers, trainings, and resources. We will now have time to build on past success and develop a third group of active citizens who do not have the skills and abilities to develop projects in their community.
- Save Big
I receive a small readjustment allowance which is built to help me adjust when I move back to the States. The Peace Corps will raise my monthly readjustment allowance by about 30% in the last year of my service. This extra savings will allow me to take a few months to travel the world before I enter into an Masters program.
*These are the thoughts of Richard J. Roman and are not those of the Peace Corps or its affiliates.