Program details volunteer opportunities for older Americans

February 25 2008

Terre Haute, Ind. -- Many adults who remember hearing John F. Kennedy say “Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country” are now realizing that “call to service” really does include them. This age group is completing careers, completing day-to-day child rearing responsibilities, and asking themselves, “What’s next'”

There’s still a wide world of opportunity for older Americans through the Peace Corps, which has no age limit for volunteers. A former Peace Corp volunteer turned recruiter will present a program March 7 describing what the Peace Corps is all about, what it does, and what it is like to live abroad.

Today, a total of 8,079 Americans serve in the Peace Corps. Of that number, nearly 400 volunteers are aged 50 or older. The number of older Americans serving today is significantly higher than in the early years of the Peace Corps, such as in 1966 when less than one percent were over the age of 50.

Donna Braden, 50+ Recruiter at the Chicago regional Peace Corps office, will discuss her experiences and the benefits of serving in the Peace Corps after reaching age 60.

Braden was an environmental volunteer in Kryvyi Rih, an iron mining and steel refining city in eastern Ukraine. She worked mostly with young people. She had incredible experiences camping with teenagers in the Ukrainian steppe land, traveling on a short vacation to Odessa, and enjoying the historic atmosphere of Lviv and Kiev and Slavianagorsk.

Terre Haute residents and ISU graduates, Jerome and Wilma “Jean” Tennis, who served in Peace Corps together in their 60s in The Gambia, will also share their experiences. Jerry, a former teacher and school principal, and Jean, a former nurse, used their skills and experience to help the people of their West African community.

The work of Peace Corps volunteers is diverse and includes a range of programs within education, health, HIV/AIDS prevention, information technology, business development, math and science, youth and community development, environment and agriculture, as well as secondary projects initiated by volunteers themselves, such as book drives, school and house construction, and community businesses.

The program, which is free and open to area residents age 50 and older, will be presented at 1:30 p.m. March 7 in the recital hall of Indiana State University’s Center for Performing and Fine Arts.

The program is presented by OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at Indiana State University, a membership driven organization open to persons age 50 and over. Begun as the Dewey Institute for Lifelong Learning, OLLI was established through a generous grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation. For more information, contact Michelle Bennett at 812-237-8707 or email olli@indstate.edu .

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Contact: Michelle Bennett, program administrator of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Indiana State University, (812) 237-8707 or olli@indstate.edu

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

There's a wide world of opportunity for older Americans through the Peace Corps, which has no age limit for volunteers. A former Peace Corp volunteer turned recruiter will present a program March 7 describing what the Peace Corps is all about, what it does, and what it is like to live abroad.

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