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An 80-year-old Peace Corps volunteer? No sweat


Vivian Davis walks five or six miles every day in her work as a an AIDS/HIV outreach worker for the Peace Corps in rural South Africa. "I just get around town visiting with people, or go to the Internet cafe," she says. "It keeps me healthy."

Her routine isn't out of the ordinary for a Peace Corps volunteer - until you consider that Davis recently celebrated her 80th birthday.

Most Americans think of the Peace Corps as a young person's gig, but 8 percent of volunteers are over 50, an all-time high. Although fewer than 1 percent are over 70, more than 4 percent are in their sixties; Davis is the only volunteer over 80.

It's no coincidence that more older people are signing up. In 2007 the Peace Corps began actively recruiting older adults through a program called Peace Corps' 50+. The program was expanded in 2011 through a partnership with AARP that promotes Peace Corps at AARP events and through its publications. "Older volunteers bring unique life skills and professional experience that help them make an instant impact in communities where they serve," says Shira Kramer, a Peace Corps spokeswoman. "And they often serve as mentors for younger volunteers."

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