When he first arrived in Tanzania to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Myles Lamar took on the challenge of teaching math and chemistry to ninth and tenth graders at a local secondary school. Since then, living and working in his community for the last year, the Stockbridge, Georgia native has found that education thrives on stepping outside of the comfort zone – usually when it’s applied from both sides.
“My favorite part of service is my students, those that break out of their shells and aren’t afraid to try something new just because the concept is foreign to them,” Myles said. “It’s also when they inadvertently teach me things about life and myself without even trying to do so.”
After graduating from Savannah State Unversity in 2015 with a STEM degree, Myles felt compelled to improve the lives of people with diverse origins overseas.
“I was motivated to join the Peace Corps because I wanted to offer exposure and opportunity to individuals of less sanctioned backgrounds, in whatever way they needed it,” Myles said. “Also, I wanted to annihilate the myth that the Peace Corps is made up of white Americans to prove that Volunteers of Color are of service as well. While our numbers tend to be fewer, we are here serving, have served and will continue to serve.”
As part of his Peace Corps service, Myles has launched a number of secondary projects that will enrich the lives and education of his students, including the establishment of a regional spelling bee across nine schools and the construction of three science laboratories at his school.
Outside of his service projects, Myles has assumed the major responsibility of cultural ambassador by introducing neighbors in his community to the richness and diversity of American culture.
“My biggest accomplishments in the Peace Corps have been exposing people to look beyond what is presented to them through television, social media and other various news outlets and to critically think on things and not take everything at face value,” he noted.
Acting on Myles’ example, Savannah State recently launched its own Peace Corps Prep Program – in which current students may enroll in coursework geared towards international development with the expectation of pursuing that field after graduation – as a way to encourage more students to foster cultural exchange overseas.
“As an alumnus of Savannah State University, I love that this program is coming to surface,” Myles noted. “This program will definitely help with the school’s progression into becoming an even bigger and better university.”
Looking ahead, Myles hopes to instill a significant sense of ambition in his students so they may feel empowered to serve their community even after he completes his service.
“I want my students to learn that just because you do not necessarily come from a land of wealth and opportunity does not mean that you are limited by those circumstances. I want to show them that they can be great within their own country, helping to develop their place in it as well as that of their own people, and have it one day be among the greatest of national powerhouses.”
Myles will share more of his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer during the Peace Corps Prep launch event at Savannah State University on October 31st.