Peace Corps Volunteer Simon Williams is working with his Ukrainian village to build a community athletic field and create a soccer league for the local school. Williams, who played baseball professionally with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, says the current athletic field at the village school is inadequate. 

“The school sits on top of a hill and the field that they have is the size of half a basketball court, which is not sufficient for most physical education activities,” he explains. “Having been active in athletics my whole life, and knowing how soccer-crazy all these kids are, it would be great to see them have an adequate place to play.

“The plan is to make this a very hands-on project,” says the University of Maine graduate, who was Captain of the UMaine baseball team. “The village and its people have very little money but are excited to be a part of building a soccer field for the school.”

Williams has been working as a Youth Development volunteer since 2011, teaching English to students in a Kindergarten through 11th grade school. “We are playing stick-ball and the kids love it. I cut down a broom handle, bought a tennis ball and made the bases out of rocks and they are beginning to grasp the basics. The students always try for a home run, which is hilarious. I like their hustle,” he adds.

In order to receive funding through the Peace Corps Partnership Program, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project cost and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability.

One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation goes toward a development project. Support Williams’ project in Ukraine

(Source: details for https)

Moving Slowly

Things are moving slowly. There really isn’t a whole going on around my little village, but also I might just missing some of the action. I have to say that these past handful of days have been pretty quiet. Which can be good from time to time but not what I am currently looking for. I am quickly approaching on the longest time I have been away from seeing an immediate family member, mix that with being on the other side of the world speaking a language I only started learning a few months ago, and I get a good little bit of homesickness. I have been pretty good at being a hermit the past few days, and at times thankful that my host family allows me my own space. But as I am coming out of this whole lets hide from the world, I realize that this was my first real stint of just wanting to be home, and I know this won’t be my last. But a few things I am glad for and know that I can get through and beyond moments like these.

I know things will get better. Or at least there is something new or changing that will always be happening soon enough.

Thankfully I have access to the Internet and my family/friends through Skype and phone calls. Even though at times the whole time difference throws a wrench into I want to talk to people right now and it is either the start of my day/end of theirs or vice-verse.

That there are little things I will always be able to do to break up my days. The past few days I have gone and sat outside a little mom/pop convenience store and played cards by myself or with the owner and other villagers. I am glad for the moments/activities that can be shared with very little need for the speaking the same language yet provides a chance to have some simple fun.

And that I can not forget how lucky I am to get to live in a whole new culture, country, in a part of the world I never considered visiting. Things are not going to be easy but this is now my life and my journey.

Also thanks to Mariel for sending my some Starbucks VIA packets (my first package from the states!)  I am enjoying getting to talk with you as you get ready to embark on your own Peace Corps journey, and I can’t wait to visit you in Mongolia! Also thanks to Kevin, a newly returned Peace Corps Volunteer for your encouragement and advice, it is nice to talk with someone who understands this crazy adventure. Thanks to my fellow PCV here in Thailand who have are there to listen, distract, and share funny stories of miss reading Thai labels.

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and support while I am on the other side of the world. Hope life is treating you all well!

Here is to another day full of great things to come.

The Wat that is next door to my host families house.

The Wat that is next door to my host families house.

Got it!

Yesterday, my invitation for the Peace Corps came in the mail! Been reading through as much of the packet as I can. Oh the joys of more paperwork! Will be accepting my invitation to serve. So excited. 

In the mail

I should probably go to sleep or do something a bit more productive but I am caught up in exploring blogs and information about the Peace Corps. Why? Because in the next day or two I should be getting my official invite to be a Peace Corps Volunteer! Can’t wait to know 100% which country, I have pretty good idea thanks to departure time frame and the Peace Corps Wiki page. Hopefully in the next couple days I can say that I have accepted my invitation and start really planning for the next adventure in my life. 

So amazing.

(Source: j-yee)

Great video about AmeriCorps response to Joplin tornado. National service programs are needed!

(Source:, via eschatologies)