Former Peace Corps Volunteer Embarks on Cross-Country Bicycle Journey; James Houle Hopes to Raise Awareness About Other Cultures
April 5, 1999Washington, D.C., April 5, 1999—James Houle, a returned Peace Corps volunteer from New Hampshire, embarks on a six-month bicycle trek across the United States today to raise awareness about other cultures in schools along his route. His journey will begin in Corvallis, Ore., and will take him through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. He plans to reach New Hampshire, his destination, in the fall, after a summer stop in Michigan.
"This project was designed to share the knowledge and insight I gained from my Peace Corps experiences in Ghana," Houle said. "The diversity of the world's many cultures is one of its greatest strengths. If global interdependence is to be a reality, we must learn to respect people who are different from ourselves. As communications systems grow, the ability of today's students to function in a growing global community depends on their understanding and appreciation of other cultures."
Houle served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, West Africa, from 1995-1998, teaching math in a rural community. While there, Houle organized a bicycle trip through Ghana with several other Peace Corps volunteers. Along the way, the volunteers stopped to participate in community service projects.
Houle hopes his visit to classrooms across the country will inspire students to expand their view of the world, and reinforce the values of volunteerism and community service.
Currently, nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 80 countries to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new small businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.
To learn more about Houle's bicycle trek across the United States, check out the Peace Corps' World Wide Web site at www.peacecorps.gov.