The Peace Corp was established on a temporary basis on March 1, 1961, by President Kennedy through an Executive Order. That September, Congress approved legislation allowing the Corp to continue its mission to “promote world peace and friendship.”
In the meantime, the Corp’s first director, Sargent Shriver, began developing outreach programs that would number 55 by the time he stepped down in 1966.
Most people know that the Peace Corp’s mission is to “promote a better understanding” between Americans and people from other countries, and to provide a level of assistance, as well. But here are a few things you may not have realized.
Operation Crossroads Africa Lead the Way
In 1958 James Herman Robinson, a Presbyterian minister, founded Operation Crossroads Africa (OCA). He said he did this in part to answer a question young people kept asking him after hearing his sermons; “What can I do.”
Like the Peace Corp, Operation Crossroads Africa recruits educated young volunteers to work abroad supporting local communities. OCA has operations in 40 African countries, 12 Caribbean countries and Brazil. President Kennedy once called OCA “the progenitor of the Peace Corps.”
You Can Get a Paying Job There
Most Peace Corp staff members are volunteers, but the organization also has some paid positions. These are primarily trainers, administrators and service leaders, who educate and support the volunteers and the service recipients. The caveat is that a person cannot hold a staff position for more than five years. Clearly this is not intended to be a life-long career for anyone.
The Peace Corps also contracts with medical personnel and a variety of technical trainers.
8 Percent of Volunteers Are Over the Age of 50
There’s a presumption that the Peace Corp is something people do right out of college, or they don’t do it at all. In fact the average age of the current 7,209 volunteers is 28.7.
Volunteers Are Predominantly Female
Sixty-three percent are female and 37 percent male. It might also surprise you to know that seven percent are married.
100% of Donations Go to the Country or Fund You Choose
If you believe that clean drinking water is the key to global health, you can donate directly to the Drinking Water and Sanitation Fund. Think education is fundamental to self-sufficiency? Donate to the Education Fund.
You can ensure that your donation is used for the country, volunteer project or special fund of your choice. Or you can donate to the general fund and receive a collectible thank you gift.
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