Peace Corps Proclaims May 29 'Senior Volunteer Day'; Forum on Senior Citizens and the Peace Corps set in Washington, D.C.
May 11, 1998Washington, D.C., May 11, 1998 Ð Ð To celebrate Older Americans' Month and to recognize the talent and energy that older Americans bring to Peace Corps service, Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan has proclaimed Friday, May 29 as "Senior Volunteer Day."
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of service for one of the Peace Corps' most famous alumni, the late Miss Lillian Carter, President Carter's mother, who served as a senior volunteer in the 1960s in India. As part of its "Senior Volunteer Day," the same day that President Kennedy would have celebrated his 81 birthday, the Peace Corps will host a forum on senior citizens and their Peace Corps service. Mr. James E. "Chip" Carter, III, Miss Lillian's grandson, has confirmed his participation as a panelist at the forum. The forum will be held on May 29 at 10 a.m. at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
"In the past 37 years, the number of senior citizens serving in the Peace Corps has more than tripled to nearly 7 percent today," Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan said. "Many of these volunteers answered President Kennedy's call to serve after their careers and children, while some saw their children and grandchildren have such remarkable experiences as Peace Corps volunteers that they wanted to try it, too."
Gearan sent a cable to all Peace Corps posts proclaiming "Senior Volunteer Day" and calling for a celebration of senior Peace Corps volunteers making a difference around the world. There are 430 Peace Corps volunteers over the age of 50, with the largest number of seniors serving in the Ukraine and Jamaica. The oldest Peace Corps volunteer is Helen Olander, 78, of Sun City West, Ariz., who is serving in Sri Lanka.
Today, about 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 83 countries to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, start new businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.