Peace Corps Volunteer to return for holiday visit

Deanna Simmons on the job in Ethiopia

Deanna Simmons on the job in Ethiopia

Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 01:39 PM.

Deanna “DT” Simmons, a 2004 graduate of Apalachicola High School who joined the Peace Corps in 2011, will be returning home for a visit soon and stay until Dec 29.

An Apalachicola native, she is the daughter of Elinor Mount-Simmons and Bernard Simmons. During her visit, H’COLA will sponsor a meet-and-greet event so the community can come out and listen as Deanna shares of her Peace Corps experiences. The date will be announced later.

Simmons began her service in Ethiopia, living in the small community of Injibara, also known as Kosober, in the Amhara region. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she served as a volunteer in the community health and HIV prevention sector, working on water sanitation, HIV prevention, agricultural preservation, and youth and gender empowerment through a series of mentorship programs.

Simmons also led the Injibara Clean Water Garden and HIV Prevention Project, which now brings water to more than 5,000 students, staff and teachers at the local high school. The school had not had running water for years and when Simmons shared this news of this with her family, she said the jubilation from the students at having this water flow from their school faucets was like Christmas morning for us back in the states.

This project was highly successful and through this awareness program organized by Simmons and her counterparts, the preparatory school of their community was awarded the President’s Green Hero Award for their diligent efforts in environmental conservation and indigenous agricultural preservation.

Having recently completed a 27-month contract, Simmons has accepted a competitive third-year extension position with the Peace Corps as a training unit leader. Her work includes ensuring quality technical and cross-cultural sessions for both pre-service and in-service trainings for Peace Corps Volunteer trainees, with the primary focus of providing support, as well as improving the preparation and experience of the new volunteer.

Currently Simmons lives and works in the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa, one of the continent’s largest cities located within the Horn of Africa.

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