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AHS grad heads to Africa for Global Citizen Year

Aug. 6, 2012

Arrowhead graduate Marisa Comeau-Kerege will not be going to college this year.

Instead she opted to take a bridge year in Africa where she will join 95 other fellows from across the nation to live in developing countries.

Her mother, Juanita Comeau, heard about Global Citizen Year on NPR and told her daughter about it. As the Director of College and Career Transitions at Madison Area Technical College, Comeau understands teens who don't know what to do after graduation. "People have mixed reactions … Parents ask me, 'You're letting her do that?' and I say, 'Yes!' "

Global Citizen Year is a corps-type program that recruits and trains graduating seniors in service and leadership. Their goal is to unleash the potential of the next generation of Americans to approach the rigors of higher education and the challenges of the 21st century with innovative, insightful and effective leadership, according to their mission statement.

Comeau-Kerege will spend some time in Stanford before she departs for Africa on Aug 29. She will stay in the Capitol with her peers for a month before moving in with her host family. While there, she will be serving her village through Senegal community partners or international NGOs.

"They haven't told me yet what I'll be doing but I know I will be working with either public care, youth care or women empowerment," Comeau-Kerege said. There is also a possibility that she will team up with Nike Girl Effect.

"Here, I coach and skate at Arrowhead. And I love working with kids. They nicknamed me the kid-whisperer … I would hate to see that childhood phase taken away from them," Comeau-Kerege explained. That's why she's trading in her notebooks and backpacks for mosquito nets, shots or vaccinations and bug spray.

This trip is not a vacation and it will be costly. While financial aid is available, the gross cost of tuition is $28,500. This fee includes travel costs, room and board, monthly stipends, two-week leadership orientation at Stanford University and ongoing training while in the host country.

Comeau-Kerege has organized a cell phone drive to help cover some of the costs. Old cell phones, PDAs, printer cartridges, computers, digital cameras, etc. can be dropped off at Hartland Service on 400 East Industrial Drive.

You can also follow her travel blog at http://globalcitizenyear.org/updates/my-search-for-self/.

"I think I'm trying to find myself. I know I am passionate about kids and the arts but I don't know where that will take me. I'm hoping this will help me find something that really clicks," Comeau-Kerege said.

Cell phone drive

Get rid of that old junk and help Arrowhead graduate Marisa Comeau-Kerege with the costs of a year of outreach in Africa. Donate old cell phones, PDAs, printer cartridges, computers, digital cameras, etc. at Hartland Service on 400 East Industrial Drive.

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