Joining the Peace Corps is a selfless commitment. Twenty-seven months of your life are promised to the organization, and you are sent to one of the countries that partner with the volunteer organization. Most people know a little about the organization, but I am going to share a few less common facts about the Peace Corps.
Kennedy Was Responsible…Sort Of – Most people are under the impression that President Kennedy started the Peace Corps. He did sign the executive order to create the Peace Corps, but it was President Hubert Humphrey who tried to create it first (Time Magazine). Humphrey introduced a bill in 1957 to create the organization, but the bill did not pass (Time Magazine).
Volunteers Are Covered- I was surprised to learn that the Peace Corps provides a stipend to the volunteer that lets them live a lifestyle much like the people they are there helping (Chad Chernet, Recruiter for the US Peace Corps). Chernet also points out that The Peace Corps provides medical care for their volunteers as well as a lump sum of over $7,000 when they return from their venture.
It’s Great Training- A lot of successful people got their start in the Peace Corps; even some people of note. On the list are Senators, Representatives, businesspeople and TV personalities. According to Biography.com, TV host Chris Matthews spent two years in Swaziland, Africa.
In addition to Chris Matthews, Time Magazine reports that Former Senator Chris Dodd, Founder of Netflix Reed Hastings, and Bob Vila all volunteered for the Peace Corps. Another Presidential Connection-
Though he was never in the Peace Corps himself, former President Jimmy Carter’s mother was (PeaceCorps.gov). Not only did she join, but at the age of 68, she was one of the oldest people to enroll. She spent two years in India working with people afflicted with leprosy.
The Numbers are Vast- According to the Peace Corps website, the organization provides services in 139 countries. To put this in context, there are 195 countries in the world. That means there are only 56 countries that the Peace Corps doesn’t operate in. To serve this immense portion of the world, they need some significant manpower. Perhaps I should say womanpower as 63 percent of the volunteers are women and only 37 percent are male (PeaceCorps.gov).
Since its inception in 1961, 215,000 volunteers have come through the organization (PeaceCorps.gov). These do-gooders help with everything from education to agriculture to youth development to environmental needs of the country.
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