Haley Bader grew up on a small farm in Madison County, Virginia, nestled in the Shenandoah Mountains. She resisted the traditional demand of footwear (smelly feet and enforced baking-soda bombs are a sour combination in any child’s sneakers) to take barefoot romps in the woods. Her formative years were punctuated with forced marches in the Blue Ridge (yes, she whined the whole way), turns at the cider press (why use the apples from the ground?? They’re rotten!), dunks in the frigid waters of the Rapidan River and hours of countryside solitude made bearable by book binges.

These experiences left her with a taste for harebrained adventure and a penchant for literary escapism.

To “get away from it all,” Haley attended Bard College in New York (a sweet 8 hours from her homestead), a small liberal arts institution on the banks of the Hudson River. Besides unintentional titty-gazing at Bard’s topless sunbathers, she studied Russian & Eurasian Studies and Asian Studies with a focus on the Russian and Japanese languages. For her senior thesis, she described the bride-kidnapping phenomenon in Kyrgyzstan  as well as the role of NGOs and NPOs in Central Asian women’s organizations. During her studies, she also worked with the children of several families as a caretaker, tutor and “mentor.”

After taking a year off to explore life in the culinary industry, Haley began volunteering as an Americorps VISTA. Her background working with children and her desire to learn more about NPOs led her to team up with Space of Her Own and Space of His Own (SOHO), one-on-one creative mentoring programs that incorporate the arts to support 5th-grade at-risk youth.

After Americorps, Haley worked for 6 months as a Youth Service Coordinator at the Alexandria Court Service Unit, a partner of SOHO. Haley taught youth on probation, as well as youth diverted from court proceedings, essential life skills.

Haley learned through these experiences her passion for youth work, and decided she wanted to take this experience abroad – and so she applied for Peace Corps.

Now, she walks (and sometimes stumbles!) through her life in Moldova.

Haley is a Community and Organizational Development Volunteer with the “Miras-Moldova” Public Association in Comrat, Gagauzia, Moldova. Her main tasks are building organizational capacity, recruiting local volunteers and developing a Cultural Reporting Club for local youth. And of course, she dabbles in grants…

Learn more about “Miras-Moldova” here: http://miras.md/new/e/


An account of one Peace Corps Volunteer's life in Moldova