Peace Corps a tradition for Snohomish family

SNOHOMISH — Volunteering for the Peace Corps is an Anderst family tradition.

Brenna Anderst is preparing to make a trip to Morocco to teach English.

The 23-year old Snohomish woman is leaving on March 19 and will spend 27 months helping a local community. This is similar to what both her parents did in the 1980s.

One of her main reasons she joined the Peace Corps was the many stories her parents told about their own time overseas.

“My parents had a great experience living in different environments and gaining cultural perspectives,” Anderst said.

Also, if it wasn’t for the volunteer organization, her parents wouldn’t have met.

Her parents met in March 1986 while they were working as Peace Corps staff in Seattle.

Ann Anderst, Brenna’s mother, said she first saw her future husband during the 25th Peace Corps founding celebration. He later started working in the same office.

“We worked together a lot in Peace Corps, so it’s easy to know each other,” she said.

They married in 1988, and now they have three children: Brenna, the oldest, Emily, 21, and Robby, 18.

When Brenna told them she was applying to join Peace Corps, they were both surprised.

“We were pleased that she wanted to follow the family tradition,” she said.

They know that her experience will be different than theirs because of today’s technology. They also know her volunteer work will not be limited to teaching English.

“She appreciates other cultures,” said Bill Anderst, her dad. “They will learn from her and she will learn from them.”

Ann Anderst volunteered from 1978 to 1981 by helping improve agriculture practices in Liberia. She is now executive director for Healing the Children, a Mukilteo-based organization that helps children from around the world get access to proper and affordable medical care.

Bill Anderst volunteered from 1983 to 1985 and helped local fishermen manage a fishing cooperative in Jamaica. He is currently a Lake Stevens Middle School science teacher.

Brenna graduated from Western Washington University in June after earning a bachelor’s degree in human services and rehabilitation.

This is not the first time she is going to travel overseas for a volunteer mission.

Three years ago, she went with her mother to Guatemala during her spring break to help small villages build water tanks for the dry season.

Brenna is spending the time before she leaves saying goodbye to friends. She was planning to learn Arabic, but she was advised to wait until arriving to Morocco. That way, she can learn the proper dialect.

She is also just trying to fit everything she needs into her suitcase.

“It’s hard to pack for two years,” she said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 428-339-3422p; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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