Allely Albert had a fairly typical Mill Valley upbringing, attending Kumara Preschool, Park Elementary, MV Middle and Tam High and starring on the state championship Mock Trial team before heading off to college.

But Albert also showed a flair for taking the path less traveled, playing baseball instead of softball at Tam and becoming the only girl to so in the Marin County Athletic League at that time. And after graduating from Willamette University, Albert’s journey completely diverged from the typical – it’s safe to say that having a river AND a toddler named after you in Muambong, Cameroon, on the heels of a 30-month Peace Corps stint there, qualifies as the path less traveled.

Now Albert’s circuitous path has brought her home. The 25-year-old is the new Community Services Officer for the Mill Valley Police Department, replacing Sheryl Patton, who served in that role for 15 years, and was introduced to the City Council last week by Police Chief Angel Bernal.

“We are extremely fortunate and happy to have Allely joining us and I can’t say enough about having this bright young person who we pray will stay with us for a very long time to come,” Bernal told the Council.

In her new role, Albert will play an integral role in MVPD’s outreach to the community and serve as a “jill of all trades” in supporting nearly all fects of the department, Bernal said. Albert’s experience in Muambong showed she has a penchant for successfully connecting with a community.

Albert spent two-and-a-half years volunteering for the Peace Corps in Muambong, a farming community of approximately 5,000 residents spread across more than a half dozen villages. The experience changed her life, as she spearheaded a wide range of programs that spanned epilepsy, a pen pal program between a Muambong school and Park School in Mill Valley, a malaria campaign, nutritional education and, after she extended her stay at the request of the community, helping to create a new water system.

“The people there were just some of the most amazing people I have ever met, so warm and kind and welcoming,” Albert says. “I was the first volunteer that they had had in a very long time.”

In the time that she was there, a family named their baby after Albert and the village elders named a nearby river after her. And when Albert’s family came to visit over the holidays in 2014-15, “they presented my family with a live goat,” Albert wrote in a blog post. “They wanted my family to bring it back to America with them, but after a few explanations about the rules and regulations of airplanes, it was ultimately decided the goat would stay with me. So I am now the proud and clueless owner of a ram.” Her family’s visit was the reason for four village parties in three days, including a number of musical performances of songs that were specifically created for Albert’s family.

Albert’s send-off party from Muambong in January of this year was “more attended than a Beyoncé concert,” a fellow Peace Corp volunteer told her.

Albert says she’s thrilled at her latest opportunity.

“Being able to combine the community outreach component with my interest in criminal justice and law – and to do it in my hometown – is a really exciting opportunity,” Albert says.

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