Rotarian from E-Club San Diego Global, speaking about her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer
Nov 18, 2021 12:00 PM
Maureen Duncan
Rotarian from E-Club San Diego Global, speaking about her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer

Bio:   Maureen Venti Duncan

After college I made the best choice of my life: I joined the Peace Corps. I was sent to Brazil which became a country I have stayed connected to throughout my life.  I spent my 20s in Oakland teaching special education and unwed mothers.  My 30s were spent raising my children and changing careers, writing computer-based children’s reading programs, which was a revolutionary idea for the times 1980’s.

During my 40s and 50s: I became a systems analyst, working with government agencies – health and human services, probation, and the courts.  But I made a u turn and came back to teaching, this time, teaching vocational programs: computer information systems and business and managing welfare to work grants with Peralta Community College in the SF Bay Area

I moved to San Diego in my 60s to help one of my sons start his own business and shortly after arriving, joined a local Rotary Club.  A Rotary opportunity came up to get a GUTS (Grant for University Teachers Scholarship) and I found myself back in Brazil but this time in the Amazon. Then Rotary gave me another “gift, an invitation to be a Cadre for Central and South America.  Cadres do evaluations on large Rotary grants, over $100,000.  I have been on over 15 evaluation projects in Honduras, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia. 

I have enjoyed all the evaluation excursions   but fell in love with the students at one vocational high school in Guatemala. I vowed to create my own District grant, helping 16 of them start their own businesses while finishing high school.  It was a great success, but Covid hit, and it has been a struggle to keep them in school, 15 of them did graduate and I was able to support, through District grants and friends ‘donations, five of these students to further their education at the college level, albeit on-line. We, they, struggle and overcome obstacles every day; the pandemic and economy is still a disaster in Guatemala