About Liz Warden
“Our answer to the world’s hope is to rely on youth … not a time of life, but a state of mind, a temper of will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over a life of ease.” –Robert F. Kennedy, South Africa, 1966
Sanibonani! Liz Warden here. I am 23-years-old and hail from Half Moon Bay, Calif., a small-town-USA-type-of-place along the Pacific Coast Highway outside of San Francisco. I went to school with the same people from elementary to high school, which urged me to get out of the small town bubble and see other people and cultures. I am also an only child with minimal family, which has shaped me to be an individualistic and determined person.
These are just some of the factors that made me decide as far back as elementary school that I wanted to be a journalist. Meeting all different kinds of people, always on-the-go, not staying in one place for too long, working with people with a similar – dry – sense of humor and writing for a living – what could be better? You also can’t forget that journalism, historically, has been a “public service” profession: Exposing injustices to the greater public, being a “watchdog,” holding politicians and others accountable for their words are just a few ideas that intrigued me about the profession.
But most of all what inspired me to go to j-school at the University of Southern California was that someday I could draw attention to social issues – especially those underrepresented in the U.S. and internationally – through my reporting.
And sure, I can do that. I already have with some of my work. But the real question is: Does drawing attention to social issues actually motivate the readers to take action and do something about them? Maybe, maybe not.
That’s why I’m eager to put my reporter’s notebook on my bookshelf for good, ditch objectivity and actually fight social issues I’ve reported on previously or learned about. My post-undergraduate years will be dedicated to national and international service.
This blog follows my journey serving in the U.S. with AmeriCorps for a year and for 27 months abroad with the Peace Corps.
Now, I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa (this country is seriously a journalist’s paradise and fascinates me every day). I am known as “Mpho” or “Miss Mathebula” in the village and live in the Battlefield Region of the KwaZulu-Natal province. I am a grade 5 English teacher in South Africa as part of the Schools and Community Resource Project.
I write and serve with the intention of experiencing and sharing a culture different from my own and with the goal of learning something new from every single person I write about. I am a firm believer that everybody on this earth has an interesting story to tell.
I plan to keep writing for Liz in Service even after the Peace Corps because I know whatever career I end up with, it WILL be in the public service sector. Hence, for the rest of my life I will always be “Liz in Service”.
I serve because I believe one person can have an impact on this world, even if it means just making a difference in one other person’s life. I serve to better understand humanity and the world we live in. I serve because I believe that the right to an equal education is the civil rights issue of my generation.
I may be young, but I am strong. And I will make a difference.