Gearan, Wofford Release Survey Results in Speeches at National Press Club
April 27, 1999Washington, D.C., April 27, 1999—In dual speeches at the National Press Club today, Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan and Harris Wofford, former U.S. Senator and head of AmeriCorps, released results of surveys about the impact of volunteer service.
For the second straight year, Gearan said, 88 percent of Peace Corps volunteers said they would join the Peace Corps again and would recommend it to others.
More surprisingly, 72 percent of the volunteers reported they had easy access to a computer, 60 percent to a fax machine, 53 percent to e-mail and 38 percent to the Internet. "As a volunteer in today's Peace Corps, you are just as likely to teach business skills in Uzbekistan as you are to teach health education in rural Ghana. As a volunteer in today's Peace Corps, you are just as likely to promote agroforestry in Honduras through a video series or a radio show as you are to work on a hillside," Gea ran said. "As a volunteer in today's Peace Corps, you are just as likely to have easy access to a computer as you are to have running water in your home. The world is changing, and the Peace Corps is changing with it."
AmeriCorps Study: Making Communities Stronger
In discussing the accomplishments of AmeriCorps, Wofford released a new study showing that the program is making communities and non-profit organizations stronger, and giving participants the skills they need to succeed in the future.
"The results of this independent evaluation prove that AmeriCorps is accomplishing what it was created to do, and make a strong case for expanding the program and building on the success," said Wofford. "From helping non-profits be more productive to giving young people substantial life skills, AmeriCorps is getting things done for America." Key findings from the study by Aguirre International include:
¥ AmeriCorps greatly improves participants' skills in the areas of communication, interpersonal skills, analytic problem-solving, understanding of organizational systems, and technology. ¥ AmeriCorps serves as a catalyst for change for community organizations. Because of their collaboration with AmeriCorps, many institutions have been able to expand, improve, and restore service to their communities. ¥ The direct benefits to communities and AmeriCorps members are valued at $1.66 or more for every dollar invested. Gearan and Wofford asked Congress to support President Clinton's proposals to expand both programs. The President has proposed increasing the Peace Corps from 6,700 volunteers now to more than 10,000 volunteers by the year 2003, and he wants to boost AmeriCorps from its current 40,000 members to more than 100,000 members by the year 2002.