Allison Moses is determined to continue her philanthropy.
The 27-year-old Roaring Spring native who spent 15 months in the Eastern European country of Georgia in 2007-08 doing humanitarian work for the Peace Corps before being evacuated due to political unrest, is now engaged in similar endeavors in the Central American country of Costa Rica.
"She hasn't said too much to me about what she's been doing there, but I'm really proud of her for trying to do something positive to help make the world a better place," her mother, Cathy Odroneic, 56, of Roaring Spring said. "I just hate for her to be so far away. As a mother, you can't help but worry ... but I have faith that God will take care of her."
Allison Moses of Roaring Spring is shown in Quebrada Honda, Costa Rica, the town where she lives and works with the Peace Corps.
What she's doing entails helping kids to learn about the environment, teaching English and computer classes, fostering community cleanup skills and writing a project that will support pregnant teenagers and young mothers in maintaining their development and health.
The trip marks her second endeavor in the Peace Corps, of which she has been a part since 2007, Odroneic said, adding she left for Costa Rica on March 10, 2009 and will be there until June 2011.
She'll be returning home for a two-week visit in June.
"We'll pick her up in Washing-ton, D.C.," her mother said. "I'm very anxious, I haven't seen her for 13 months. And that's a long time for a mother, believe me."
The project was made possible by a grant Moses received from Kids to Kids, a Boston-based youth initiative committed to creating opportunities for kids on a worldwide basis to participate in arts, sports, education and environmental projects, according to a release.
In the last two years, it has awarded more than 180 grants, totaling more than $75,000.
Moses, a 2005 Penn State graduate who studied marketing and human resource management, is sponsoring the project in partnership with a community leader in Costa Rica.
"I was super excited to get the grant," she said. "The teachers are motivated and support the environmental theme to the project. We're going to do trash pickup, post signs and plant trees in May and June."
She lives in a one-story, two-bedroom house with her two-member host family, in the province of Guanacaste (there are seven provinces in Costa Rica) on a small farm village (Quebrada Honda) near the Nicoya Peninsula in the western part of the country. Population: 400.
"It's the type of town where everyone knows everyone, and you can go to anyone's house for coffee whenever you feel like it," she said in a recent e-mail to the Mirror. "But keeping that in mind, there is absolutely no privacy, and everyone knows everything about your life."
Her host family, a mother and her 14-year-old son, have welcomed her with open arms.
"My host brother and I pick on each other as if we were indeed relatives," she said. "My host mother is an extremely kind and caring person that sometimes treats me too much like her own daughter - hence the nine o'clock curfew my first two months here."
The elementary school where she teaches has less than 30 students, she said, adding that less than 20 percent of the village's youth attend high school.
"There is a very small percentage of young people here," she said. "The kids are familiar with volunteers, so they understand why I'm here and always have to hug me when they see me. It's funny ... I was never really a kid person, but the kids always run up and hug me, while I awkwardly hug them back - but I'm getting better, though."
While her core objectives in Costa Rica are similar to those in Georgia, there have been fundamental differences in the respective overall experiences.
"Well, it's 100 percent different," she said. "In Georgia, I lived in a city with a population of 150,000, working with and an NGO (non-governmental organization) from 9 to 5 (p.m.) while, on the side, teaching business classes and assisting micro-entrepreneurs. I lived with three other volunteers in my town and endured a bitter winter with no heat.
"Here, I'm experiencing everything as the exact opposite: small town, extreme heat (typically 98 to 102 degrees in April), grass roots projects with kids, recycling, no office and no deadlines - just pure motivation. That can be challenging. Costa Rica is easier to adapt to because the people understand our culture better and the languages are so similar. They've accepted me as one of their own here - I didn't have that in Georgia."
Debbie Moses, Allison's aunt, who described her niece as "a very wordly and experienced young lady," is happy to see her honing a foreign language skill.
"She's becoming very fluent in Spanish," Debbie Moses, 56, of Pittsburgh said. "I'm excited she's been able to cultivate that ability on this side of the hemisphere," she said. "There are so many Spanish-speaking jobs here (in the U.S.), especially on the West Coast. When she comes home, she's really going to be a great asset."
Allison Moses' experiences abroad would seem to beg the question: Does she ever long for home?
"I'm not homesick because I'm accustomed to living away from my friends and family," she said. "I'm lucky enough to be able to communicate with my them every week through Skype, e-mail and Facebook. I'm anxious to see my friends and family when I come back in June, but I'm not ready to live in the states yet."
When she does come home for a two-week hiatus, it's time for rest and relaxation.
"I'd love love to just sit on the couch and watch TV in English," she said. "I'll attempt to venture out of the house and visit my friends and Aunt Debbie in Pittsburgh, and just relax with my family in Altoona and Roaring Spring."
Mirror Staff Writer Jimmy Mincin is at 946-7460.