News / USA

Peace Corps Seeking Older Volunteers

Peace Corps volunteer Ralph Bernstein, right, 84, poses with students at a secondary school in the Tamale region of northern Ghana, October 13, 2008 (file photo)
Peace Corps volunteer Ralph Bernstein, right, 84, poses with students at a secondary school in the Tamale region of northern Ghana, October 13, 2008 (file photo)
Ninie Syarikin

This year, the Peace Corps is commemorating its 50th anniversary. To date, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 countries, as teachers, health workers and technical and agricultural advisors. Most volunteers are in their 20s or 30s. Only seven percent are over age 50. But the Peace Corps is actively recruiting senior volunteers, and Barbara Joe is helping that effort.

Barbara Joe joined the Peace Corps 10 years ago, at the age of 62. A tragedy moved her to sign up:

“I had a son who died in 1994, in an after-work accident.  [It is ] a terrible blow, I think, to lose your child. So for a time there, I was paralyzed. But I kind of revived at the thought of going into the Peace Corps and giving service," Joe said.  "So I think it was helpful to me to be in the Peace Corps.  I would have to say, for me, personally, it was a healing experience.”

Barbara Joe
Barbara Joe


Joe was assigned to Honduras, as a health volunteer. She enjoyed the experience so much, she decided to extend her tour for two years beyond the usual two-year assignment. Joe says the Peace Corps is a win-win situation for everyone: the volunteers, and the country they’re assigned to.

“First of all, it’s good for the volunteers, because they get to be part, really, of another culture, another language, another environment, becoming part of a community, so I think that’s the great privilege for us," Joe noted.  "Then, of course, is the benefit to the host country of our knowledge and expertise that we are trying to share. And I think that it’s enriching to them to know us.”

Now 73, Joe has recounted her Peace Corps experiences in a book titled: "Triumph & Hope: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras."

“I wanted to reach retiring baby boomers here in the United States, people in their late 50s, 60s, who are retiring and who may be trying to think of what to do next, maybe they’re healthy, maybe they’re idealistic, ready for something new, and I think they should consider the Peace Corps,” Joe added.

Barbara Joe lives in the Washington, DC area, working as a freelance writer, and Spanish translator and interpreter. She returns to Honduras almost every year with a medical group which provides surgery for children in poor communities.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid