Peace Corps Day '99: Nearly 10,000 Volunteers Participated on March 2 ; Events Nationwide Celebrated Peace Corps' 38th Anniversary
March 3, 1999Washington, D.C., March 3, 1999—Commemorating the Peace Corps' 38th anniversary, nearly 10,000 current and returned Peace Corps volunteers took part in a global education initiative yesterday, speaking about their overseas experiences to students across the country as part of the second annual Peace Corps Day. "Peace Corps volunteers' commitment to service continues well after their return home, as evidenced by the more than 4,000 returned volunteers who participated last year," said Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan. "This year, more than double the number of former volunteers went to classrooms in all 50 states, where they spoke to 400,000 students. Former Peace Corps volunteers learn lessons that should be shared with all Americans. We are proud that as we move into the new millennium, the Peace Corps continues to be an international model of citizen service and of practical, grass-roots assistance to people in developing countries." In addition to the returned volunteers speaking in classrooms, other highlights of Peace Corps Day activities on March 2 included:
¥Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, Secretary of Education Richard Riley, and Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend provided opening remarks at 10 a.m. to kick off Peace Corps Day at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C.;
¥Students from Southern Middle School in Lusby, Md. spoke via video conference to Mary Frances Muzzi, a Peace Corps volunteer in Moscow, and her students;
¥Middle school students from Lusby, Md., Herndon, Va., and Washington, D.C. schools participated in Peace Corps' "Global Challenges" at the Peace Corps headquarters. Students worked on a project as if they were Peace Corps volunteers;
¥The Peace Corps launched "Kids World," a Web site (the address is www.peacecorps.gov/kids) that will feature fun activities for children; ¥More than 25 currently serving Peace Corps volunteers conversed via phone hook-ups with students in classrooms;
¥The San Francisco regional recruiting office staff hosted a book reading in Berkeley, volunteered for pledge drive week on KQED public television, and participated in a Bay area cable television program for children;
¥Several states and dozens of cities declared March 2, by proclamation, "Peace Corps Day."
Currently, nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 80 countries, working to bring clean water to communities, teach children, help start new small businesses, and stop the spread of AIDS. Since President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.