Kelly Allison Joy of Danvers has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Thailand on Jan. 14 to begin training as an education and community service volunteer. Joy will live and work in a community to teach English in a Thai classroom and create a community service project for her Thai school.
“Since I was 8 years old I have had a dream of joining the Peace Corps," she said. "It has motivated me throughout my life and has shaped me into the person I want to become.”
Joy, 21, is the daughter of Karen and Tom Joy and a graduate of Danvers High School. She then attended Loyola University in Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2012.
During the first three months of her service, Joy will live with a host family in Thailand to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist her community, Joy will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in Thailand, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.
“I run a community based organization in Gulu, Uganda called the Dwon Madiki Partnership," she said. "Peace Corps is another opportunity for me to get involved on global scale.”
Joy joins the 247 Massachusetts residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and 103 Peace Corps volunteers from across the country serving in Thailand.
The greater Boston region tops the 2012 list of metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers - 205. More than 7,932 Massachusetts residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.
More than 5,095 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Thailand since the program was established in 1962. There, volunteers work in the areas of education and community development and beginning in 2013, volunteers will also work in the area of youth development. Volunteers are trained and work in the Thai language.