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Helping youth has always been on Sara Maaranen’s radar.
The Los Alamos native recently was accepted into the Peace Corps and departed to Ecuador May 13 for a 23-month excursion.
She will spend three months training as an urban youth development volunteer at the community level by creating programs to assist at-risk young people.
In Ecuador, Maaranen will mainly be working with kids that are 5-17 years old.
“It’s an opportunity to experience a culture as a local while serving the
community,” Maaranen said. “I want to gain understanding of the levels and circles of the culture.”
During the first three months of her service, she will live with a host family in Quito to learn the local language and integrate into the culture.
After acquiring the language and cultural skills that will help her make a lasting difference, Maaranen will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Ecuador where she will serve the next two years.
Maaranen is the daughter of Steve and Denise Maaranen and a graduate of Los Alamos High School.
Following high school, she then attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and journalism in 2010. She has also worked as a caseworker at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah.
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