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Peace Corps still 'changes lives,' director tells crowd

The following excerpt comes from the Gainesville Sun in Gainesville, Florida and was originally published on Feb. 21, 2012.

Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams said Tuesday at the University of Florida that he expects baby boomers, who made up the first wave of Peace Corps volunteers as young people, will return to the program or join for the first time as they retire in the years ahead.

"We welcome all ages if you want to serve," he said.

Williams spoke to a crowd of more than 270 that included dozens of returning and prospective volunteers at UF's Bob Graham Center for Public Service. A Peace Corps volunteer himself in the Dominican Republic from 1967 to 1970, Williams is the fourth director in the group's more than 50-year history to have been a member.

Williams said that Peace Corps needs to improve recruitment, as there are more opportunities for international service today than when the program started. But he said that Peace Corps still has advantages in having volunteers who are able to "walk that last mile" that other groups are unable to reach.

"As I look around the world and I look at the opportunity for Americans to become global citizens, the Peace Corps is still the gold standard of service," he said.

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