Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to increase global awareness and call young people to action. The mission of the Peace Corps is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
What drew me to Peace Corps over other volunteering or teaching programs was it’s first goal: “to help the people of interested countries.” Peace Corps is not intended as a program telling countries what they’re doing wrong, rather listening to the voices of countries and communities who have asked for help in a specific area and working to fill their need.
“How many of you who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world? On your willingness to do that, not merely to serve one year or two years in the service, but on your willingness to contribute part of your life to this country, I think will depend the answer whether a free society can compete. I think it can! And I think Americans are willing to contribute. But the effort must be far greater than we have ever made in the past.” –John F. Kennedy
Volunteers live and work in their communities in over 140 countries across the globe, oftentimes (as in Indonesia) living with a local family, becoming completely immersed in host-country culture and customs. Volunteers work in one of six sectors including education, agriculture, environment, health, youth in development, and economic development.