President Clinton Sends Message to Senior Peace Corps Volunteers on 'Senior Volunteer Appreciation Day'; Forum on Senior Citizens and the Peace Corps held in Washington, D.C.
May 29, 1998Washington, D.C., May 29, 1998 Ð Ð In a special message sent to all 430 senior Peace Corps volunteers around the world, President Clinton wrote: "The older Americans who serve as volunteers are a vital part of this mission, bringing experience and dedication to bear on some of the most important challenges that developing countries face. We recall how Miss Lillian Carter, when she was in her late sixties, touched the lives of many people as a Peace Corps volunteer in India. She and the many other senior volunteers have been an inspiration to all who seek to improve our world through peaceful cooperation and international understanding." At a forum 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 proclaimed today as 'Senior Volunteer Appreciation Day.'
As part of its 'Senior Volunteer Appreciation Day,' the same day that President Kennedy would have celebrated his 81 birthday, the Peace Corps hosted a forum on senior citizens and their Peace Corps service this morning.
Mr. James E. "Chip" Carter, III, Miss Lillian's grandson, spoke about the life of his grandmother and how her experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer had a lasting effect on the whole family.
Other panelists included Lee E. Norrgard of the American Association of Retired Persons, currently serving senior Peace Corps volunteer Jay Jones of Little Rock, Ark., returned senior Peace Corps volunteers Dot Kelly of Alexandria, Va. (Sierra Leone 1989-'91) and Linda Robinson of Baltimore, Md. (Senegal 1995-97).
"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."
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.