DOWNEY - The Peace Corps has accepted Downey resident Erik Richard English into its ranks and will assign him to start his service in Benin, Africa.English, 22, departed to the west part of Africa on Tuesday to begin his pre-service training as an education Peace Corps volunteer. His training will end in October of this year. He is the son of Sadie and Richard English, and a graduate of St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower. After high school, he attended the University of Oregon where he earned his bachelor's degree in English and anthropology, graduating in 2009. "The dedication and conviction of returned Peace Corps volunteers was so inspiring," he said of his decision to become a volunteer. "I hope to be as inspiring to those I come in contact with as they have been to me. During the first few months of his service, English will live with a host family in Benin to become fully immersed in the country's language and culture. After obtaining the proper language and cultural skills necessary to assist his assigned community, he will serve for two years, living in a manner similar to people in his host country. English joins the 911 California residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 26,000 California residents have served in the organization since 1961 according to a Peace Corps press release. Over 1,600 volunteers have served in Benin since the program was established in 1968. Volunteers in this region work in the areas of education, environmental and agricultural conservation, health and HIV/AIDS awareness, business development, and information technology. Through these sectors, volunteers respond to four of Benin's development priorities, including improved quality of life, expanded educational opportunities, increased food production, and reforestation. Currently, 103 volunteers are serving in the region.
********** Published: July 24, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 14