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."