Fredonia resident to begin Peace Corps service in Liberia


OBSERVER Staff Writer

Monday will be a busy and exciting day for 22-year-old Elyssa Adams of Fredonia.

Adams will be moving to Liberia on that day to begin her training and work for the Peace Corps as an education volunteer. She will live and work in a community to teach math to high school students and work with them at a grassroots level to contribute to community needs.

“I’m very excited to start my new job in the Peace Corps,” Adams said. “Right now, they’re really trying to rebuild the educational system there in Liberia, so that’s their big focus for their volunteers.”

Adams is the daughter of Robert Adams and Lisa Miller and a graduate of Fredonia High School. She attended SUNY Binghamton for the first two years of her college career, then transferred back home to SUNY Fredonia, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in adolescence mathematics education in 2012. She also earned her teacher certification there.

During the first three months of her service, Adams will live with a host family in Liberia to become accustomed to the country’s language and culture.

After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist her community, she will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in the country, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

The Fredonia native said once she graduated from college, she wanted to put off graduate school for a little while and do some traveling.

“With the Peace Corps, I can travel, get work experience and still help people,” Adams said. “It seemed like the perfect mixture and it’s for a pretty good amount of time, so it was definitely a good fit.”

She told the Peace Corps that her goals are “to develop new teaching styles, learn more about different cultures, help those who really need it and become a person who understands just how lucky we are to have all that we have here at home.”

Adams said while she is a bit nervous leaving for such a faraway region she has never been to, she is more anxious than anything.

“Obviously, I’m going to experience things I could never even imagine, but that’s also really exciting,” she said. “I get to do these things that so many people never get to experience.”

According to a press release by the Peace Corps, Adams joins 448 New York residents currently serving in the organization and more than 12,863 New York residents who have served since 1961, when President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps. Nearly 3,980 volunteers have served in Liberia since the program was established in 1962. Currently, 63 volunteers serve in the country.

Liberia is located on the western coast of Africa. It has a population of about 4 million people.

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