Established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps is one of the best-known volunteer organizations in the United States. Dedicated to serving people in need of aid, as well as promoting cultural exchanges between American citizens and people in other countries, the Peace Corps plays an important role in serving the global community. Many former members of the Peace Corps join nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) upon completion of their 24-month tour of duty, using their experience and passion to effect real change in the world.
Peace Corps volunteers know how important their work is, but sometimes a little recognition can go a long way. Peace Corps Week, celebrated Feb. 24-March 2, was launched to celebrate the work of volunteers and raise awareness about the various programs the organization conducts. Peace Corps Week 2013 is organized into themed days, with each day of the week representing another way for us to understand the work this organization does.
The first day's theme is "Grow Your Peace Corps Family Tree." Former members are encouraged to reach out to their families and communities and not only introduce them to the work they did during their time in the Corps, but also to show people what a life-changing experience serving communities abroad can be, as the Peace Corps relies on people signing up to serve others overseas.
Another theme is "Inspire Global Learning." In today's increasingly technologically advanced society, the world has become a much smaller place. This theme is meant to encourage Americans to learn about other cultures, belief systems and social values — a primary goal of the Peace Corps.
Cultural exchange is one of the most important functions of the Peace Corps, and it drives another theme, "Share Culture from Around the Globe." This day encourages us to think about how cultures around the world shape our everyday lives in the United States, a lesson ChildFund sponsors learn through the exchange of letters with their sponsored children. Compassion, tolerance and cultural awareness are all crucial to the Peace Corps' goals, as well as ChildFund's aims. In fact, ChildFund employs some Peace Corps alumni, who often use their knowledge from the field to help children in need today.
The Peace Corps operates in many of the same countries as ChildFund, including Guatemala, Ethiopia, The Gambia and The Philippines. If you are inspired by the valuable work of Peace Corps volunteers or want to make a difference in your own way, please consider sponsoring a child. For just $28 per month, you can help us provide children with the support and encouragement they need to emerge from poverty and lead happy, fulfilled lives.