Perry Teicher, Back in the US After Living Abroad

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Perry Teicher, 26, spent more than two years living in Kazakhstan. The West Bloomfield native left Michigan after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2007 with a degree in Organizational Studies and Political Science to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer.

“I wanted to move outside my comfort zone, challenge myself and really see if I would be able to be successful in an environment that was different than what I used to, make a difference and learn something,” he said.

He moved abroad, where he worked at a disability organization that built the first wheelchair factory in Central Asia, and also helped establish a volunteer club that engaged over 100 local students to work one-on-one with children with disabilities.

The support network he grew up with helped prepare him for his life in Aktobe, he explained. “On the family side, my parents were always very supportive of whatever I wanted to do, they pushed me to do more things and explore what I wanted,” he said. “And on the community side, that there was this sense of support and sense of purpose.”

His travels took him through Central Asia and then back to the U.S., to Washington D.C. by way of West Bloomfield. Living in metro Detroit was a totally different experience as an adult, he said. He spoke of coming home to new parts of town he hadn’t explored before, of going downtown with friends and spending time in Royal Oak, areas he’d missed the first time around. “It was really nice to see that there’s a lot of energy in the city and the suburbs,” he said. “And a real desire to think of the future and create a new experience for the city and communities.”

Teicher said he’s inspired by the movement taking place, and the way the buzz about Detroit’s future is spreading in other cities. “They hear all these good things, the do-it-yourself, the urban farming, and all of this energy that’s there,” he said.

Currently, he’s living in Washington D.C. and working as the first fellow for Repair the World, an organization that focuses on making Jewish service work more meaningful and effective. “So I’m basically doing research on a variety of projects they’re developing and being able to apply my background in international volunteerism and business development to a really great cause.”

He also runs a mobile application development company based out of Michigan. “It’s called the Giving App,” he said. It’s based around the idea of using mobile technology to help nonprofit organizations increase fundraising and connect with supporters, as well as to distribute information.

When he’s in town, Teicher’s picks include New York Bagel, the Plum Market coffee shop, and Buddy’s Pizza. And when he’s in Ann Arbor, its Cafe Zola and Zingerman’s.

He also enjoys his newfound ability to speak Russian with his dry cleaners, a reminder of his travels right on Orchard Lake Road. “They speak Russian to me now and I get my clothes cleaned in Russian, which I didn’t do in Kazakhstan, so there were new words for me to learn.”

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