Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Spearhead Community Service Projects During National Service Week
April 14, 1997WASHINGTON, D.C., April 14, 1997—In the spirit of National Service Week, hundreds of returned Peace Corps volunteers will perform special community service projects throughout the country this week and throughout the month.
President Clinton, during his weekly national radio address on April 5, praised the work of returned Peace Corps volunteers and AmeriCorps members and called upon them to reach out to young people in their communities, "teaching a new generation about the power of service."
Returned Peace Corps volunteers are organizing activities all across the United States for National Service Week, which began yesterday and runs through April 19.
Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan said the service projects show the continuing commitment to service by the more than 148,000 Americans who have joined the Peace Corps. "That commitment translates into a 'domestic dividend' when these volunteers return to the United States, because they volunteer and serve in their communities back home," he said.
According to a recent survey, nearly eight out of 10 returned Peace Corps volunteers have or are currently volunteering in their local communities.
The Peace Corps will participate in the "Presidents' Summit for America's Future," to be held in Philadelphia April 27-29. Returned Peace Corps volunteers, serving in their current capacities as local community leaders, will be delegates at the summit. In addition, more than 200 returned Peace Corps volunteers from the Washington, New York, and Philadelphia areas are expected to participate in the summit's community service event in the Germantown section of Philadelphia on April 27.
Throughout the month of April, returned Peace Corps volunteers will participate in dozens of community service projects. These include:
Deputy Peace Corps Director Charles Baquet, a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Somalia, will join more than 20 volunteers to clean, paint and landscape a Red Cross family housing shelter in Middletown, Conn., on April 19. The shelter houses approximately 14 homeless families and offers an after-school program for homeless children.
For the past five years, volunteers from Northern California have helped restore trails at Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco. On April 26, about 20 volunteers will continue this collaboration with the National Park Service by cutting and hauling underbrush to make trails passable for hikers.
That same day, about 15 returned volunteers will assist in "Christmas in April," working with a non-profit organization in Contra Costa County that mobilizes volunteers to paint, repair and renovate houses in underserved communities and among the elderly.
On April 19, about 50 returned Peace Corps volunteers will assist in an urban beautification project in Larose, La. Volunteers will raze an abandoned house situated on the scenic Bayou La Fouche in the Mississippi delta. The project is organized by Les Reflections de Bayou, a group seeking to maintain the environmental quality of bayous in the Mississippi delta area.
On April 19, about 20 returned Peace Corps volunteers will work with Habitat for Humanity to construct a house for a low-income family in Camden, N.J.
Returned Peace Corps volunteers will assist the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank on April 19. As many as 20 volunteers will sort and pack food for distribution to the most needy citizens of Philadelphia.
Approximately 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers serve in 90 countries around the world, providing assistance in education, health and nutrition, agriculture, environment and small business development. Since 1961 more than 148,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.