Andrew Sean Cunningham, 21, of Roanoke, Va., has been accepted into the Peace Corps.
Cunningham departed for Madagascar on Sept. 30 to begin pre-service training as a health education Peace Corps Volunteer. Upon graduation from Volunteer training in December, Cunningham will be implementing various health education and development projects.
Cunningham is the son of John and Dora Cunningham, and a graduate of Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke, Va. He then attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic studies and linguistics, graduating in 2008. Cunningham previously volunteered for a construction service trip to Honduras. He also volunteered at the Bradley Free Clinic, translating between doctors and Hispanics patients. During college, Cunningham was an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity.
“I feel that it is important for anyone to use the gifts they’ve been afforded in life to make the world a better place,” said Cunningham about his decision to join the Peace Corps. “I’ve been given plenty. Now it’s time to give back.”
During the first three months of his service, Cunningham will live with a host family in Madagascar to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist his community, Cunningham will serve for two years in Madagascar, living in a manner similar to people in his host country.
Cunningham joins the 352 Virginia residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 6,349 Virginia residents have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.
Since the Peace Corps’ entrance in 1993, over 733 Volunteers have worked in Madagascar, an island in southeastern. Volunteer projects in this are primarily focused on English language education, teacher training, natural resource management, community development, health education and child survival activities. Currently, there are 141 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Madagascar.
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently, there are 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit our website: www.peacecorps.gov