CNMI resident serves overseas without going off-island


WASHINGTON—Saipan resident Robert “Winston” Posegate is among approximately 230 individuals who participated in the Peace Corps’ Virtual Service Pilot. Launched in October 2020, VSP is a virtual service opportunity where former Peace Corps volunteers donate their services through virtual engagements with community-based partners overseas.

Posegate completed two virtual engagements—one from February to April 2021 and another from July to November 2021—teaching English as a foreign language in Armenia. 


“My service in Armenia had been cut short due to the pandemic, and the VSP was a way to reconnect with the Peace Corps and to work with Armenian students and counterparts. I was waiting to return to service, but I thought I might not be able to return to Armenia as a volunteer again. I also wanted to get familiar with teaching groups on Zoom,” said Posegate. 

Returned volunteers from all decades since the ’60s, including those evacuated in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may express their interest in donating their voluntary services to the Virtual Service Pilot. Participants are matched with host communities according to their skills and the needs of the community. Engaging host country counterparts and stakeholders on virtual platforms, participants have worked in the fields of education, health, financial literacy, agribusiness and environmental protection. In true Peace Corps spirit, Virtual Service Pilot participants demonstrated flexibility and creativity in connecting with their host country counterparts, navigating different time zones and diverse online platforms to complete their tasks. VSP participants donated five to 15 hours weekly to their host communities and collaborated on projects over a 12- to 24-week timeline. 

“Both of my VSP experiences were very meaningful to me. In the spring, we covered cultural topics such as taboos and stereotypes, which I had long wanted to address with English as a second language students. In the fall, we were able to come up with our own topics and create lesson plans for them, and I covered topics such as the Olympics, smoking, transportation safety, and U.S. geography. I strove for interesting and important discussions,” said Posegate.

Posegate is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University. Before participating in VSP, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia in the education sector from March 2019 to March 2020.  

VSP offers a unique opportunity for returned Peace Corps volunteers to further the agency’s mission in a role distinct from the traditional on-the-ground Volunteer experience. The pilot also offers those with family, work and school commitments, the opportunity to serve a community abroad while remaining in the U.S. To learn more, visit the VSP webpage. (PR)

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