Charlotte Cook

Year Joined MKLM: 1992
Country: Kenya
Focus: Healthcare, Education and Pastoral

Personal Data
Born and raised in the Washington, DC area I attended the University of Maryland where I studied history and government. I worked in West Virginia for several years before relocating to Philadelphia where I developed a program to teach sewing skills to mentally handicapped women. For over ten years I worked in the mental health field in Philadelphia in both a hospital and community settings. In the hospital I developed a work training program for patients preparing for discharge. The patients ran a small cafe several days a week. In the community setting I headed transitional housing programs for adults wanting to live independently. While in Philadelphia I received an MS in Human Behavior and Development.

MKLM Ministry
From Philadelphia I joined the Maryknoll Lay Missioners in the Fall 1992 Class and spent the next ten years in Kenya. I was fortunate to be involved in several ministries in Nairobi, including counseling people living with AIDS; providing support for families of those living with AIDS; teaching religion in a high school for refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo; training community health works in counseling. What started as an interest in African culture while working in Kenya led to a Masters in African Studies from the Maryknoll Institute of African Studies/St. Mary’s University in Nairobi/Winona, MN. Since returning to the US I worked at US Catholic Mission Association for several years before joining the federal contracting field.

Current Work
Currently I am on the management team of a 200+ person contract with the Bureau for Global Health in the US Agency for International Development. Staying connected to Maryknoll has been important for me so I joined the Washington, DC chapter of the Maryknoll Affiliates. We began a Just Faith program in January 2014 which has helped me to connect the various experiences I have had within the context of Catholic Social Teachings and the Gospel message. My interest in and concern for the environment prompted me to join the Eco Ministry in my parish which I now co-facilitate. I also volunteer with the American Councils of International Education evaluating applications from high school students in former soviet bloc countries who hope to study in US on scholarship. I assist in a weekly ESL class as well. I’ve had opportunities to do a fair amount of international travel which I love. A week-long pilgrimage/retreat to Guatemala in October 2013 was the most recent. In 2014 I was fortunate to participate in the FAB/Just Faith trip to Cambodia and in 2015 in the Bolivia Immersion trip.