Peace Corps: 'Toughest Job You'll Ever Love' More Popular Than Ever; Top 10 Peace Corps States Named
December 18, 1997Washington, D.C., December 18, 1997—Reaffirming that Americans are committed to the idea of volunteerism, Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan announced today that interest in serving as a Peace Corps volunteer is up significantly this year, with a record number of inquiries.
In 1997, more than 144,000 individuals contacted the Peace Corps to request information on serving as a volunteer, an increase of 10 percent over 1996. Of those inquiries, more than 26 percent came from direct mail, including "tear cards" or detachable, self-mailing postcards on posters. Nearly 20 percent of inquiries were recorded through the agency's home page on the Internet (www.peacecorps.gov), compared to just 9 percent last year, reflecting a fast-growing approach to recruiting for Peace Corps.
"While these are among the best of times domestically—with our economy booming—Americans remain committed to the idea of service, and Peace Corps service clearly continues to hold a special place in the heart of Americans," said Gearan. "During the holiday season, when our thoughts turn to home and family, Peace Corps volunteers continue to toil, often in difficult conditions with a minimum of assistance. Americans who serve as Peace Corps volunteers are truly among our most caring and dedicated citizens."
Gearan also hailed the top 10 Peace Corps states that have historically produced the most Peace Corps volunteers, with a letter of congratulations to the governor of each state. Among the states, California has produced the most volunteers, with 21,174 residents having joined the Peace Corps. New York and Illinois were at two and three, with 13,320 and 7,614 residents having joined, respectively. Pennsylvania ranked fourth with 6,815 of its residents having joined the Peace Corps, and Massachusetts was fifth with 6,743. Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Washington, and Minnesota round out the top 10, in that order.
Today, more than 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 87 countries, working to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, protect the environment, teach children, start new small businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.