Wed | Jan 16, 2019

37 Peace Corp volunteers arrive for 2-year stint

Published:Thursday | March 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMRichard Mitchell

With ages ranging from 22 to 65 years old, 26 women and 11 men arrived on the island Tuesday afternoon as part the 86th group of volunteers for Peace Corp.

Only in their second hour in Jamaica, the US Peace Corp welcomed their volunteers to the island at their Kingston office. The volunteers were welcomed by the US Ambassador Luis Moreno, Jennifer White, the country director for Peace Corp and were treated to a cultural performance by Tribe Sankofa.

Jennifer White welcomed the group by reminding them of the values of the Peace Corp and encouraged them to become more familiar with Jamaicans than Americans while on their mission.

"While you will meet great friends (within the Corp), you did not come here to meet other Americans. If you wanted to meet other Americans there are a lot more to choose from in America. I would encourage you to know more Jamaicans than Americans because that's really what this service is about," White said.

Ambassador Luis Moreno welcomed the volunteers by recalling the history of the Peace Corp, which he compared with the US Army's Special Forces.

"There are an incredible amount of similarities between the Special Forces and the Peace Corp. The Peace Core mantra is very similar to that of the Special Forces back in the old days; their whole philosophy was let's not give a man fish to eat, let's teach that man how to fish. Let's stay there in this community, let's become part of this community," Ambassador Moreno told the volunteers.

No higher calling

He concluded by applauding the volunteers for their service, telling them that, "service and helping others, there's no higher calling."

To date, more than 3,951 volunteers have served on the island since the first set arrived in 1962. The volunteers are charged with working across a wide cross section of schools, communities, government and non-government sector organisations.

Before being sworn in as volunteers, the trainees will participate in approximately 10 weeks of pre-service training designed to prepare them for their two years of service. Their training will prepare them to work effectively in the areas of education; tackling numeracy and literacy and the environment sectors.