Peace Corps Response Celebrates 22nd Anniversary

WASHINGTON – This week, Peace Corps Response celebrates 22 years of sending experienced professionals to undertake short-term, high-impact service assignments in communities around the world. Since its founding on June 19, 1996, more than 3,500 Americans have served through the Response program in over 80 countries.

“By sending specialized volunteers to targeted assignments, Peace Corps Response plays an essential role in the agency’s efforts to meeting the evolving needs of the countries we serve,” said Senior Advisor to the Director of Peace Corps Response Tom Ross. 

Peace Corps Response, formerly known as Crisis Corps, was founded by former Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan to send returned Peace Corps volunteers back to the field for short periods of time to assist communities following conflict and natural disasters. In 2012, Peace Corps expanded the Response program to include Americans with extensive professional experience. The program’s largest volunteer cohorts include 73 volunteers who served in Thailand and Sri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami, and 272 volunteers who served in the U.S. following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Peace Corps Response volunteers now serve in a range of highly specialized and technical assignments for 12 months or less.

Douglas David Crockett of Arizona is currently serving as a Peace Corps Response volunteer in Mexico. He retired as an energy manager and is now serving as a renewable energies specialist helping to increase capacity of microgrid technologies and identify market opportunities.

“I’m especially grateful for getting to know so many kind and caring Mexican people, including my extended Huepa family and Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE) coworkers,” Crockett said in a blog post. “This Peace Corps Response experience in Mexico has helped me feel more alive, energetic and creative – a good way to grow old gracefully.”

In Malawi, Jane Whitney of Vermont is serving as a Peace Corps Response volunteer at age 83. She works with Baylor Medical School’s Tingathe Project, an HIV prevention initiative, on program development and capacity building. Whitney is the oldest currently serving Peace Corps volunteer in the world.

“Although I am not given to sugary statements, it is true that the opportunity to serve and represent the United States is a rare and amazing privilege,” said Whitney in a blog post. “As an older volunteer, not only do you have some well-honed skills to offer, but experience makes edges softer and it may be easier to cope with some of the problems you’ll face in service.”

Peace Corps Response currently has more than 30 volunteer opportunities for experienced professionals. In addition to disaster risk mitigation, Response volunteers serve in all six of Peace Corps’ project sectors: agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development. Assignments range between three and 12 months. 

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About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, 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 230,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.

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