The Peace Corps begins its 53rd year in March; time to celebrate its successes while realizing there is still work to do.
Locally, Gonzaga University ranks in the top 10 of small-sized universities with its number of active volunteers. Currently, 22 Gonzaga students or graduates are Peace Corps volunteers. Washington ranks in the top 10 among states with most volunteers overall, 328, and with most volunteers per capita, 4.8 volunteers per 100,000 people.
Volunteers serve worldwide in multiple capacities determined by the host country. In their day-to-day routines, Peace Corps volunteers help the developing world understand the United States is about more than wealth and power.
When volunteers return home their commitment to service continues. In Spokane, some teach in our schools and universities, work in public health, volunteer with local charities or school programs and assume leadership positions with service organizations.
The total cost for the Peace Corps comes to about $1.20 per U.S. resident per year. Compare this to the Defense Department budget of $526.6 billion, about $1,664 per person. Why the disparity?
Would not an extra dollar for every U.S. citizen be too much to ask of Congress to enhance the Peace Corps’ success?