Former Rexburg mayor prepares for another year of service in the Peace Corps
REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - Former Rexburg Mayor Shawn Larsen will be among some of the first Peace Corps Volunteers who will begin service overseas since the outbreak of COVID-19. This comes after the Corps suspended its global operations due to the pandemic.
Larsen will take part in a project in Timor-Leste, a southeastern Asia nation on the island of Timor, where he will use previous career experience to serve as a community economic development volunteer. This will be a return to South East Asia Region for Larsen as he recently lived in that area of the world.
Larsen will be traveling to Timor-Leste after the start of the New Year. On his trip Larsen says he has always wanted to take part in service mission with the Peace Corps especially after his first interaction with the corps while he was in college.
"When I was a college student. I looked at the Peace Corps and at that time I had a young family and I thought, wow, this would be a great opportunity. But I'm not in a situation where I could volunteer and and commit two and a half years of my life at that time." He added, "that's when I first found out about the peace Corps. And it has always been in the back of my mind that it's something I'd love to do. It's a great organization that does good around the world. And so now I at a point in my life that I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. And so I submitted my application and got word that I had been accepted and so I'm excited to join the Peace Corps."
Larsen who grew up in the Rexburg Area, and says the mixture of where he grew up and his home family life contributed to his motivation to join the peace corps as well.
"I grew up in Rexburg. I was raised by two wonderful parents, had a great family and community service is always instilled in us that, you know, you give back to your community and and do what you can to make things good for everyone. And and promoting kindness and peace throughout the world. And so I do think that that background and that that upbringing really helped me make that decision to to join the Peace Corps."
He says living in South East Asia also led to his motivation to hoping to go to the Timor-Leste area.
"I actually applied for Timor Leste Day because I was living in Malaysia at the time when I submitted my application. And I, I really grew to love that region, the Southeast Asia region and Timor Leste Day. It's a it's a new country. It they gained their independence in 2002. And so what I'm excited about is really working alongside with local either nonprofit organizations or government organized Asians too. My focus will be on community economic development and so I'm hoping that my background and maybe some of my experience, well, you know, benefit the people that I'm going to be working and serving with. So that's what I'm most excited about."
Part of what Larsen will do is help the village he will live in is work with local Non-profits and other various government agencies to help build their infrastructure.
"I'm going to be in a small village infrastructure is is pretty minimal in that part of the region. So I don't know exactly the project I'm working on, but the goal is to really lift up the economic development in the in the small village."
Larsen created a instagram account for people to share in his journey you can see that here. For more information on the Peace Corps, you can find it here.