Bipeds of Brookland: Monica Fitzgerald

Posted by Abbott Klar Real Estate on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 9:03am.

Bipeds of Brookland: Monica Fitzgerald
Monica Fitzgerald

Monica Fitzgerald grew up in Minnesota, “I was the first in my family, the third of seven kids, to go to college. I went to Augsburg College. I was able to borrow and work and pay for it myself.”
 
After teaching at a Catholic high school, she joined the Peace Corps and moved to Guatemala, where she hiked to villages to give “charlas” (lessons) to children about health. Upon returning to the US, Monica completed a Master’s degree in Intercultural Relations at Lesley College in Massachusetts. She then took a job with the Justice Department and spent a year living in the refugee camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, interviewing and processing “balseros, people who had left Cuba on rafts and were picked up by the Coast Guard. I think there were 20,000 people in camps.”  
 
She later came to DC to work at Peace Corps headquarters. Monica organized the first Peace Corps Day, (now Peace Corps Week) celebrated annually ever since on March 1st , the anniversary of Peace Corps’ founding, and helped to establish pen pal programs between American students and the communities of current volunteers under the World Wise Schools Program. She remembers over twenty years ago bringing kids from a DC elementary school to the Peace Corps office to video chat with the kids they had written letters to in South Africa, supporting “the third goal (of the Peace Corps), to bring the world back home.” 
Monica was invited to look for a house in Brookland by a close friend, and while visiting, her agent introduced her to a neighbor who was out gardening. “I never imagined that we would later fall in love and get married.” She and her wife now have two boys. Monica has led her older son’s Cub Scout den at St. Anthony’s for four years and also coaches her younger son’s local Cal Ripken baseball team. “I became an accidentally very-involved-in-everything parent. You start to develop a community around you that you never would have if you didn’t have these beautiful children.”

 

Bipeds of Brookland: A semi-weekly series introducing the people who make Brookland their home, one step at a time. Article and photo by Tom Sabella

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