President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. The group is a government program that Americans are encouraged to participate in if they are passionate about seeing a change in the world.
The Peace Corps’ “work at the forefront of change is turning the world’s challenges into shared triumphs.” Their mission is twofold: to make lasting relationships with countries abroad and to serve the international communities that need it the most.
This government agency would not be where it is today without its team of volunteers. Since the beginning, the Peace Corps received over 220,000 volunteers.
Serving as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, one embarks on a two-year journey to a foreign country in need of help. The program makes sure that each volunteer can contribute something special by utilizing his or her specific skills.
Not only do volunteers make a difference in the lives of the community members they are serving, but they also acquire self-knowledge and perspective that cannot be taught.
In the words of a Corps volunteer, “the cultural humility and wide-lens perspective I gained in Uganda will echo through everything I do in my own country.”
Each volunteer can recall different aspects of serving in the Peace Corps that were fundamental to forming their being: strength, dedication, hard work or communication.
With their team of dedicated volunteers, the Peace Corps has helped over 60 countries in many different fields. Examples include agriculture, the environment, economic development, health, education and youth development.
So, is the Peace Corps truly making a difference? Yes, on many levels. There are daily success stories, small and big, from volunteers and workers in the Peace Corps. Whether this is educating a mother about proper nutrition for her baby or eliminating malaria in African communities, each success is worthy of celebration.
– Sydney Missigman