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From West Africa to the Pacific Northwest
From West Africa to the Pacific Northwest

Stéphanie Van Hook moved to the Pacific Northwest from Benin, West Africa, after two years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small village in the Northwest region of the country. In the conflict resolution program, Van Hook has linked her international and local community work through a position on the board of Oregon Peace Institute (OPI). OPI serves as Van Hook's liaison for a project that works to help disadvantaged orphan girls access formal and informal education by covering school fees.

Van Hook is also a volunteer for the Portland-based nonprofit Save Refugees, an organization that assists refugees in the transition and resettlement process.

"I believe in the need for grass-roots efforts of reconciliation for a peaceful future," says Van Hook. "Part of this effort is in making ourselves agents of forgiveness, both in giving and in asking for it."