Three Peace Corps Volunteers in Samoa are Second Generation Volunteers
August 28, 1998Washington, D.C., August 28, 1998—For 37 years, Peace Corps volunteers have been inspired by parents, children, relatives, teachers and friends. Three currently serving volunteers in Samoa, all business teachers, are the second generation of Peace Corps volunteers in their families.
Jeremy Shuman of Seattle, Wash., is a business teacher at Samoa College; his mother taught English in Turkey from 1965-67. Dan Warco of Greenville, S.C., is a business teacher at Congregational Senior College; his mother was a special education teacher in Liberia from 1965-67. Barbara Mannella of West Mifflin, Penn., teaches business at Chanel College; her son worked as a community services volunteer in Senegal from 1987-89.
Jeremy Shuman, who graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., was inspired to join the Peace Corps by his mother, Barbara of Mercer Island. "My mother's experience in Turkey helped me realize I had other options once I graduated from college," Jeremy says. "Traveling to another part of the world and learning about a different culture was something I'd always admired about my mother." Barbara served in Izmir, Turkey, and unlike Jeremy, who communicates with his mother via telephone, letters and e-mail, she was unable to communicate directly with her own parents throughout her two years overseas.
Dan Warco graduated from Furman University. "I was always aware of what the Peace Corps does around the world," Dan says. "I was fascinated by my mother's souvenirs from Africa." Dan's favorite story his mother tells about her time in Liberia involves a long journey and a spider. It seems Judy was traveling over several hours to visit another part of the country. When she finally arrived, she walked into the hut and saw a giant spider on the wall. She immediately got back on public transportation and rode the several hours back to her site.
Barbara Mannella has had a life-long dream of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, but her son James beat her to it. "I've wanted to join the Peace Corps since President Kennedy founded it in 1961," she says. "I was raising four children, so I waited for the right time." James, of Bethesda, Md., graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. He assured his mother that many volunteers he served with in Senegal were in her peer group. In fact, 7 percent of Peace Corps volunteers are 50 years old and older. The oldest volunteer currently serving is 78 years old.
Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 132 nations. Currently, 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are working in about 80 countries around the world to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, teach children, spread of AIDS.