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Contact: Jessalyn Ballard, Peace Corps Trainee, (281) 998-3206; Jesus Garcia, Peace Corps Public Affairs Specialist, (214) 253-5418; Peace Corps, 207 S. Houston St., Room 527, Dallas, TX 75202; Phone: (800) 424-8580, Option 1, Extension 5418; Fax: (214) 253-5401, E-mail: jgarcia2@peacecorps.gov

Centenary Alumna Joins Peace Corps; Jessalyn Ballard '03 Will Work as a Community Development Volunteer in Togo

DALLAS, August 17, 2004 -- The Southwest Regional Recruitment Office for the Peace Corps proudly announces that Pasadena, Texas, resident Jessalyn Ballard has accepted an assignment to the West African nation of Togo. She departs Sept. 22.

Ms. Ballard, 23, who graduated in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in visual design from Centenary College, looks forward to her adventure. "I have a deep and profound commitment to serving others," said Ms. Ballard. "And I'm trying to instill in others what has always been available to me."

Ms. Ballard will serve as a Community Development Volunteer, working with girls' education and empowerment projects. Before the Peace Corps, Ms. Ballard worked for the Armand Bayou Nature Center in Pasadena. Ms. Ballard is the daughter of Gary and Patricia Ballard, also of Pasadena.

Ms. Ballard is part of a growing trend of Americans considering the Peace Corps. Applications are up 15 percent from last year. "Peace Corps is seeing more applications coming in from not only college graduates, but from mid-career professionals who have been laid off and retirees who feel too young to retire," said Peace Corps spokesperson Jesus Garcia.

Ms. Ballard will join more than 170,000 Americans who have served in over 137 countries since President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order creating the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. Today the Peace Corps has 7,533 volunteers in 71 nations, developing self-sustaining projects in agriculture, business, community development, education, environment, health and information technology. The Peace Corps is currently recruiting for 4,500-plus positions worldwide for 2004.

Centenary alumni and students interested in learning more about Peace Corps should contact Recruiter Linnea Ashley at (214) 253-5411 or e-mail LAshley@peacecorps.gov . For more information, visit http://www.peacecorps.gov .

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