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Let’s Celebrate the 57th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

Let’s Celebrate the 57th Anniversary of the Peace Corps

On this day in 1961, the Peace Corps was founded.

Every year, the Peace Corps celebrates their anniversary with Peace Corps Week. This year, Peace Corps Week is celebrated from February 25th – March 3rd. The theme for this year’s Peace Corps Week is “Highlighting Home: What does home, family, and community look like in your Peace Corps country?” In honor of its 57th anniversary, here are some interesting facts about the Peace Corps.

1) While President John F. Kennedy took the lead in establishing the Peace Corps, he wasn’t the first politician to propose an international service organization. Wisconsin Representative Henry Reuss and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey both brought up the idea prior to Kennedy.

2) The Peace Corps was organized in a matter of months. By the time President Kennedy was inaugurated, the Peace Corps was one of the most talked about aspects of his platform. When met with such an overwhelming response, President Kennedy appointed his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, to head the new organization. By August 30, just 7 months after the President’s inauguration, the first group of 51 Peace Corps volunteers had been dispatched to Accra, Ghana to work as teachers.

3) Former CIA employees are barred from joining the Peace Corps. This is because many speculated that the Peace Corps was a front for the CIA. To dispel this stigma, the Kennedy administration ordered the CIA not to interfere with Peace Corps affairs. However, members of other intelligence organizations are allowed to serve, so long as they complete a 10-year waiting period.

4) Over 300 Peace Corps volunteers have died during service. This is because volunteers often face inhospitable conditions while working in remote areas. Volunteers have died as a result of plane crashes, car accidents, illness, drowning, animal attacks, and violent crime. While there are always risks, the Peace Corps often evacuates volunteers from unstable or dangerous parts of the world.

5) There is no age limit for a Peace Corps volunteer. While most volunteers are young, there is no upper age limit for volunteers. President Jimmy Carter’s mother, Lillian, joined at age 68. As of 2016, the oldest active member was Alice Carter, at age 87. Happy#PeaceCorpsWeek

Join us at The Maria Sanchez Show as we wish the Peace Corps a happy anniversary. Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST.

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