By Robin White Goode, blackenterprise.com
There’s a certain romance about the idea of doing volunteer work in the developing world. Although much of the work is most likely grueling, it still speaks of adventure and exoticism to me, plus you get to help people in need while immersing yourself in a foreign culture.
Serving in the Peace Corps
Hundreds of black college graduates have served in the Peace Corps addressing challenges overseas in education, health, economic development, and more.
In fact, recruiters visit historically black colleges and work closely with prospective volunteers. Since 1961, the year President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps, 242 Howard alumni and 94 Spelman alumnae have served as Peace Corps volunteers.
“Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to a community overseas and make a lasting difference in the lives of others,” it says in a press release of the Peace Corps. “College graduates with Peace Corps volunteer experience gain cross-cultural, language, and community development skills that build upon their education and give them a competitive edge for career and advanced education opportunities.”
The Peace Corps is committed to developing an inclusive volunteer force and to ensuring that all Americans know about its service opportunities.
Peace Corps’ 2017 top
HBCUs currently serving
Howard University: 18
Spelman College: 11
Florida A&M University: 7
Hampton University: 4
Central State University: 3
Morehouse College: 3
Prairie View A&M University: 3
Both Howard and Spelman also appear on the Peace Corps’ national list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities this year. Howard ranks No. 14 among medium-sized undergraduate schools, and Spelman ranks No. 7 among small schools.
“Historically black colleges and universities cultivate a commitment to community-oriented education that inspires their graduates to pursue international service and make an impact abroad with the Peace Corps,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley says in the statement. “Each year, a growing number of HBCU alumni join the Peace Corps with important experiences and perspectives that give communities overseas a better understanding of the diversity of the United States.”