Why We Give: Peace Corps Service Changed Our Lives 50 Years Ago
By Guest Contributor on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
Why do Jack and Angene Wilson, members of the National Peace Corps Association Director’s Circle, support the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA)?
Their answer is simple: the Peace Corps changed their lives.
Building on their backgrounds as secondary education teachers in Liberia from 1962 to 1964, Angene went on to a career in academe, specializing in international education, while Jack devoted himself to a career in public service. And for almost two decades they have found their local Kentucky Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group and the National Peace Corps Association to be two great ways to stay involved with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and to give back.
Jack served for four years as the President of Kentucky RPCVs. They are also active in Friends of Liberia as well as Friends of Fiji and Friends of Sierra Leone, countries where Jack served as Peace Corps Director and Assistant Director. “What a treat to go back to Fiji in summer 2011 for a Habitat Build with Friends of Fiji and to see new Peace Corps Volunteers there inducted on a July 4,” says Angene.
Angene was the global education member of the NPCA board for six years and has been writing articles and lesson plans for NPCA’s WorldView magazine and GlobalEd Newsletter since 1996. In 2004 Angene led an NPCA-sponsored trip to Ghana for teachers, and is excited to see that NPCA’s Next Step Travel program with trips to the Dominican Republic and Guatemala is taking off. “That’s definitely a benefit to RPCVs.”
Angene and Jack also believe that advocacy is an important part of NPCA’s mission and have participated in lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill during NPCA’s annual National Day of Action in support of the Peace Corps. ”What fun several years ago to ‘go advocating’ with two recently returned Volunteers, talking to Senators and Representatives from Kentucky and other states,” says Angene.
Angene and Jack enjoy reading in the quarterly NPCA publication, WorldView, about all the creative and important Third Goal activities in which RPCVs engage. In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps in 2011, Angene and Jack published their own oral history collection, Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers. They came away equally impressed by the stories of recently returned RPCVs as by those that “we 1960s folks” told.
“Four years ago we marched with other RPCVs at President Obama’s first inauguration – NPCA and RPCV/Washington organized that — because we are proud of being returned Peace Corps Volunteers,” says Angene. “What a very cold and very spectacular experience! We still can make a difference both here in the U.S. – the third goal – and across the world. NPCA is critical in helping us do that.”
To learn more about the many ways you can support the National Peace Corps Association, visit our Contributing page. Or to make a donation online now, click here. Learn about NPCA’s recently launched Next Step Travel program here.
[Thank you to Natalie Hall for her contribution to this post.]