Former Athlete Finds Fulfillment as Peace Corps Volunteer

Kelly Rappe in Pallchiste Macedonia with girls basketball team

CONWAY, Ark. (April 1, 2014) – Kelly Rappe’ graduated in May 2013 with a degree in early childhood education. She is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the small, ethnic Albanian village of Pallchiste in Macedonia, Eastern Europe. 

Her primary project is co-teaching kindergarten through ninth grade with the English as a Foreign Language teacher at the primary school. Her main focus, however, has been on a secondary project, two girls’ basketball teams. 

“This girls’ basketball team has been my pride and glory the past months,” says Rappe’. “My community is a very conservative Muslim community that is ethnic Albanian, the minority in Macedonia. These girls are culturally expected to go directly home after school and help their mothers and grandmothers around the house with chores and such. Never has this community had extracurricular activities for girls. This basketball team spread like wildfire and now the entire community is behind the 44 girls participating on the basketball team.” 

“As an athlete of four years for field hockey and track at Hendrix, coaching came naturally,” she says. “These girls have won my heart four times over with their courage and passion for changing the perception of women's roles in the community. Our first game is scheduled for April 15 against an ethnic Macedonian team, something rarely ever seen.”

“Although I am only six months into my Peace Corps service, this experience thus far has been so powerful and awe-inspiring that I can confidently say it has changed the way I view family, community, religion, and finding strength within,” she adds. “Hendrix has not only given me the tools to succeed in the Peace Corps, but thrive in the Peace Corps.”

Read Kelly's blogto learn more about her Peace Corps experience and how to support her basketball teams.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu