Milwaukee Peace Corps Association

by Danny Zawacki

Ever since I’ve gotten back from the Peace Corps, I wanted to do more with my life. I wanted more than a job and an apartment and a car to get between the two. There was this need to be doing something that helped the community, no matter how small or large. It was a feeling of fulfillment in what I was doing with my life, a feeling I had come to love while in Ukraine. I struggled with the get up and go, however. Part of this was because I didn’t know where to start and part of this was because I was afraid to start. What if I was bad at it or people didn’t take me or my experience seriously? What if it just wasn’t right for me?

Sometime last year, I tried getting involved with Habitat for Humanity. The local chapters had built some houses around the block from me, and it seemed convenient because of this. I also liked the idea that while helping other people, I’d be helping myself with the practical skills of building and working on a house. However, when I signed up for more information and to be kept in the loop, I never really could figure out where I could sign up to actually help with the building. They had a page for it, but no information. I eventually abandoned my pursuit of this kind of fulfillment.

When Andy and Kathryn visited me in November, I heard a lot from Kathryn about her involvement in her local Returned Peace Corps Group.  She absolutely loved it and she mentioned that it was nice having that support network of people who knew what she had been through. I really liked the idea of that community of volunteers again. I looked up the local one and investigated it. It seemed promising, but I never could bring myself to go to their meetings.

The Milwaukee Peace Corps Association is the local group and last night, I finally went out to meet them. They had one of their monthly social hours at a bar which seemed like a good way to get a feeler for the group. I asked Ellie to go with me so I’d feel more comfortable (which is always a problem for me when meeting new people). The small group of volunteers there was absolutely wonderful. They were very welcoming as nearly all Peace Corps Volunteers are. They had stories. They wanted to know mine. True to form, I don’t remember anyone’s name but a quick look at their Board of Directors and my memory of where everyone served allowed me to deduce names.

I’ve decided to get involved in the Milwaukee Peace Corps Association. I want to be a part of their efforts and I want to do what I can to better the world through Peace Corps ideals. There’s a fundraiser lunch next Saturday which I’m going to go to. While I’m there, I’ll sign up for the group and make sure I can get involved in more events.

Wish me luck.