How Peace Corps influenced one of our employees

March 6, 2016 Written by  Comments Print
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As an Employer of National Service, greeNEWit celebrates Peace Corps week by sharing one our newest team members' stories, and how he was influenced and prepared to become an energy auditor. Mark Siebenaler, was a Peace Corps volunteer, and here is his story:

"I volunteered for Peace Corps because I realized that many of the opportunities I had in life were out of pure luck provided from the situation I was born into. This ranged from the privilege of never having to worry about food or shelter to the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree. I felt obligated to help others less privileged than myself and to attempt to understand how I was provided these opportunities in the first place. The reason I chose Peace Corps specifically because it gave me the greatest opportunity to be forced outside of my comfort zone. Living in a different culture and country meant everything would be new, from workplace culture to food to language. 

So far, I have served in both Guatemala and in the Philippines. Despite their geographical distance, I would say their definitions of happiness are remarkably similar. Both cultures are heavily focused on family and being very inclusive to outsiders. Life to them, in a general sense, is about making sure everyone has what they need to live a happy life. In both cultures, individuals live with their parents until they are married and even then many couples choose to live with their parents. This creates an incredibly tight knit family where the strong bonds are to a certain degree a substitute for the lack of opportunity. To address my second point, the locals were incredibly curious about me as an outsider for two main reasons. First, in terms of entertainment there was not much that an individual had access to. Entertainment was limited to television and one's imagination. The novelty I provided to the community solely for being an American made me an incredible source of entertainment. Even small efforts I made to integrate into the community were rewarded with an outpouring of love and support. This created a community that recognized the importance of both familial and community connectedness.

This is what I brought back with me from my Peace Corps service. The sense that doing the right thing will almost always be received well by both the recipient and the community connected to the recipient, and the person responsible for the act of kindness will also have a great opportunity to integrate into the community. In the end, human connections and positive life experiences will always be worth more than money."

greeNEWit is honored and proud to hire team members like Mark. We are continuously amazed by people's generosity and charitable sacrifices. so to celebrate this Peace Corps week, we salute Mark and everyone that has been a part of this great civic organization!

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