Education alumna Bailey Bollinger has always wanted to help others, and during her time at the University of Missouri–St. Louis she discovered just how.

UMSL education alumna Bailey Bollinger has joined the Peace Corps to teach Tonga children.

“During my sophomore year of college, I attended a service-learning conference and was able to connect with a Peace Corps recruiter,” said Bollinger, who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UMSL in May. “Ever since that day, my eyes have been set on being a Peace Corps volunteer. I have a great desire to help people, to spread love, educate children and make the world a better place.”

Bollinger joined the Peace Corps as a primary education volunteer, and on Sept. 5 began working with members of the community on life-improving and enriching programs in Tonga.

She will live and work at the community level, providing formal and informal training and support to elementary school teachers and occasionally teaching classes.

“Throughout my four years at UMSL, I had many opportunities to be involved in community service and leadership organizations,” said Bollinger, a Liberty, Mo., resident. “I have also met many people who have aided me in my desire to join the Peace Corps. Without these people I never would have had these great experiences and opportunities.”

She will spend her first three months in Tonga living with a host family to learn the local language and integrate into the local culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills, Bollinger will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Tonga where she will serve for two years.

“During my time in the Peace Corps I am hoping for a lot of personal growth,” Bollinger said. “I also aim to grow as a professional. Part of being a teacher is realizing that you can learn just as much from your students as they can learn from you. I look forward to spending my first two years as a professional in Tonga.”

As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world.

The Peace Corps was established in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people in other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans have served in 139 countries worldwide.

Media Coverage:
Tonga Daily News

The UMSL Experience

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton