The Peace Corps offers people of all ages the opportunity to give back to the community--and the world--while experiencing exciting new cultures. People involved in the Peace Corps have the unique opportunity to learn new skills and even new languages.
Additionally, members of the Peace Corps are able to share their own skills and knowledge with people and in countries that have an extraordinary need. What many people do not know is that the Peace Corps needs older adults to serve just as much as it needs younger adults.
What is the Peace Corps?
The Peace Corps is an international volunteer organization. Its goal is to help local communities around the world make sustainable changes that will improve the lives of people throughout the community.
Volunteers who serve with the Peace Corps are tasked not only to do good works in these countries, but also to be positive representatives of the United States to people in these faraway lands.
Who Can Serve?
The organization was established in 1961. Since that date, nearly 220,000 Americans have served in 140 host countries. Currently, there are nearly 7,000 volunteers serving in locations across the world, including:
- Eastern Europe/Central Asia
- Latin America
- North Africa/Middle East
- The Caribbean
- The Pacific Islands
Seven percent of those who serve in the Peace Corps today are over the age of 50. While the average age of Peace Corps volunteers is 28, that doesn’t mean you must be young to serve. As you can see, the opposite is quite true. In fact, applications from those that are at least 50 years old have shot up quite a bit in recent years.
Types of Service
There are many ways volunteers in the Peace Corps are able to help the communities to which they are assigned. Education and health care are among the most vital services Peace Corps volunteers provide to the communities they serve.
There are other opportunities to serve as well, including:
- Environmental Protections
- Community Economic Development
- Developing Local Youth
For many people, these areas of service fall in line with their own personal interests, experience and talents. For others, they present an opportunity to cultivate new talents and interests.
How Long do Peace Corps Volunteers Serve?
The typical time of service for Peace Corps volunteers is 27 months. This includes three months of training followed by two years of service. During this time, volunteers accumulate two vacation days per month for a total of 48 vacation days during over a two year period.
Benefits of Serving in the Peace Corps
Aside from the obvious benefits of serving others, which often have more to do with how you feel about yourself and the world around you, service in the Peace Corps offers a few nice benefits to consider.
These benefits include:
- A living stipend
- Medical and dental benefits
- Peace Corps training
- Workers' compensation
For those who have student loans, they may be deferred or canceled as a result of your service too.
Why Serve Over the Age of 50?
This is the perfect time to go out and explore the world while giving back. The Peace Corps allows you to do just that. Couples also have the opportunity to volunteer together. Joyce and Mervyn Alphonso, for instance, saw the Peace Corps as an opportunity to not only bring American culture and understanding to other people, but also to bring the culture of others back to America.
You have the opportunity to live a vibrant, purpose-filled life that is full of passion while giving back to the global community. Peace Corps is one way to accomplish that – at any age.