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Peace Corps Honors the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through Day of Service

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 15, 2016 – In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Peace Corps staff and volunteers are participating in service events around the world to honor Dr. King’s legacy of goodwill and activism. Members of the Peace Corps family will join together today and throughout the weekend to fulfill Dr. King's call to service: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’”

Today at Peace Corps headquarters, staff members and returned Peace Corps volunteers will work with currently serving volunteers and their community members in Madagascar develop accurate, up-to-date map data through an open geographic data set and editing platform called OpenStreetMap (OSM). Participants will use simple online tools to trace over existing satellite imagery – adding buildings, roads and points of interest – to generate quality digital maps to better track the distribution of malaria bednets in Madagascar. 

Additionally, Peace Corps Chief of Staff Laura Chambers will take a group of employees to the Capitol Area Food Bank, where they will help sort and pack food donations for families in need throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

“The MLK Day of Service is an opportunity for staff at the Peace Corps to promote the values of Martin Luther King Jr. abroad and to fulfill of our Peace Corps mission right here at home,” Chambers said.

While visiting Peace Corps volunteers in Madagascar this weekend, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet will spearhead a tree-planting project in a small Malagasy community that has hosted Peace Corps volunteers for more than 20 years. The project will help address deforestation in Madagascar and will offer Director Hessler-Radelet and other Peace Corps volunteers the chance to teach local community members about the importance of Dr. King's legacy in American ethos. 

“As we recognize this American day of service, we also wanted to recognize the invaluable service that this community in Madagascar has provided for our Volunteers," Director Hessler-Radelet said. "By participating in service opportunities in the U.S. and abroad, Peace Corps is honoring Dr. King's legacy of grace, love and service to others.”

On Monday, Jan. 18, service activities will continue across the federal government and the country as Americans of all ages and backgrounds unite to participate in service activities. Led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service is the nation’s largest day of civic engagement. For more information, visit NationalService.gov

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to address the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work with their community members at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions to challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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