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Return Peace Corps Volunteers of the Panhandle to host meet-and-greet

By Staff | Mar 6, 2020

A Peace Corps volunteer works with a local man to decorate a vase. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Founded on March 1, 1961, the Peace Corps celebrated its 59th birthday this week, with the theme of “Peace Corps 2020+: Building the Future.” As the Peace Corps continues to look forward to its future, sending out volunteers to help educate and assist with projects around the world, it is looking forward to attracting new volunteers.

On Sunday at 2 p.m. in Blue Moon Cafe, former Peace Corps volunteers, friends and family members of current volunteers and those who are interested in becoming volunteers are invited to a meet-and-greet, hosted by the Return Peace Corps Volunteers of the Panhandle.

According to former Peace Corps volunteer to Ethiopia, Denise Force, the informal meeting will be an opportunity for Peace Corps stories to be exchanged and application advice to be given.

“It’s just a fun get-together,” Force said. “You’ll have a whole range of folks there – not all of them will be old, some will have been in the Peace Corps more recently. The university will invite students to come, who might be interested in joining the Peace Corps. This will give us old folks time to reminisce and share our experience with other people who are interested.”

The Return Peace Corps Volunteers of the Panhandle meets two-to-three times a year, and this is their first meeting in 2020.

While many people volunteer for the Peace Corps at the beginning of their careers, as it can help give them opportunities to shape their future career paths, the Peace Corps is open to volunteers of all ages. It also accepts couples as volunteers, who are then placed in the same volunteer location.

“Some people don’t understand that it’s open to people of all ages. A lot of older folks go back into volunteering. It’s not just for college kids,” Force said, mentioning that, for all potential volunteers, attending the meeting could be beneficial.

Force herself spent four years in the Peace Corps in the 1970s, teaching math and technical drawing.

“When I went in, I didn’t know anyone who had done it, because it was new,” Force said. “I learned that you get as much or more out of volunteering, as the people you are helping. It enriches your life and gives you meaning and purpose.”

Those who plan on attending the event should RSVP to bergmanwindsong@yahoo.com.