President Carter and the Peace Corps Present the 2013 Lillian Carter Award
May 16, 2013
Award Honors Older Americans’ Commitment to Service
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 16, 2013 – Former President Jimmy Carter and Peace Corps Chief of Staff Stacy Rhodes presented the 2013 Lillian Carter Award to returned Peace Corps volunteer (RPCV) Helene Ballmann Dudley of Miami, Fla., Wednesday during a ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Dudley, 67, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Slovakia from 1997-1999 at the age of 50. She had previously served in Colombia from 1968-1970.
“Peace Corps service is a great way for older Americans to continue their careers in a non-traditional environment,” Rhodes said. “Volunteers age 50 and over bring unique life skills and professional experiences to their service that allows them to make an instant impact in communities around the world.”
Since Dudley’s return from service in Slovakia, she has continued to promote the values of the Peace Corps by raising awareness of the organization’s mission and providing support to communities in the United States and abroad.The Lillian Carter Award was established in 1986 in honor of former President Carter’s mother, Lillian, who served as a health volunteer in India in 1966 at age 68. Given out every two years, the award recognizes exceptional Peace Corps volunteers who served at age 50 or over and have continued to advance Peace Corps’ third goal: to promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
“Peace Corps service was the most significant experience of my life,” Dudley said. “The Peace Corps is an amazing opportunity for personal growth. I feel that I gained far more from my Peace Corps service than I possibly could have given. I strongly feel that our nation needs Peace Corps now more than ever.”
Dudley served as president of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida (RPCVSF) from 2004-2007 and continues to be an active board member. Using the financial literacy skills she gained during her service in Slovakia, Dudley worked with fellow Colombia RPCVs to establish The Colombia Project, a micro-credit program that supports the Colombian community by connecting them with local grassroots organizations. Since establishing the program, Dudley has made dozens of trips to Colombia to visit program sites and conduct workshops to ensure sustainability. She has also written and published several newspaper articles in major publications to educate Americans about making a difference through Peace Corps service.
Peace Corps volunteers have always reflected the diversity of America and currently range in age from 19-83, representing all 50 states. They are creative problem solvers who have demonstrated a commitment to community service, leadership and a willingness to learn a new language. Currently, 7 percent of Peace Corps volunteers are age 50 or over.
About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.