Press release from Peace Corps:
Hendersonville resident Sheridan Mentch is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I look forward to learning from the community I will be serving. I also hope to discover new inner strength and compassion as I navigate a new place very different from where I grew up,” said Mentch. “I’m excited to work with the kids at my school and, of course, to see the elephants! South Africa is a beautiful country, and I can’t wait to experience every single part of it!”
Mentch is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in history. She will serve as a volunteer in South Africa in the education sector.
The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development – and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.
Currently, the agency is recruiting volunteers to serve in 59 countries around the world at the request of host country governments, to connect through the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach across communities and cultures. Volunteers have already returned to a total of 55 countries around the world. The Peace Corps continues to monitor COVID-19 trends in all of its host countries and will send volunteers to serve as conditions permit. Americans interested in transformative service and lifelong connections should apply to Peace Corps service at www.peacecorps.gov/apply.