A Full-Circle PAX Experience
Peace Corps teacher poses with a group of high schoolers in Sierra Leone

YES Program hopefuls from Makump-Bana

I hope everything at PAX is going well. I’ve been in Sierra Leone for nearly 17 months now, and today I had a moment that felt very full-circle. Earlier this week, the Peace Corps sent out a pre-application form for the YES Program and encouraged us to spread the word in our communities. I instantly recognized this program from my time at PAX and realized I was in a unique position to advocate for it in my village. As a primary school teacher, my students are too young for the program, but I took it to the secondary school and asked the teachers to assemble documents from their top-performing students.

I’m located in a small village outside of Makeni called Makump-Bana, and students here do not have access to many opportunities when it comes to education. There are many barriers that they face when it comes to applying to programs like this. It was really heartwarming to get to meet the five students from the secondary school who are applying, and when I told them the program was completely free, they were visibly relieved. 

It was great to see “the other side” of what PAX does. In countries like Sierra Leone, the YES program represents hope. Personally, I hope that at least one of the students from my village gets selected. Not only will it be a benefit to the student who gets to go to America, but it will serve as an inspiration to other students in the community and motivate them to take their education seriously.

—Annie Wnuck, former PAX Regional Support Specialist