Close to 200 dedicated individuals are already registered for Capitol Hill Advocacy Day on September 22nd, part of the National Peace Corps Association's (NPCA) annual Peace Corps Connect Conference. One of these amazing individuals - Carol Freeman of Minneapolis - is our featured NPCA advocate for the month of August.
Carol decided to apply to the Peace Corps when a recruiter came to her college. She served as an education trainer in the Philippines in the mid 1960's, working with elementary school teachers in the Teaching English as a Second Language program.
Wanting to make the most of her time in the Peace Corps, Carol remembers working very hard to get closer to her hosts. She decided to live in a small hut near the school, and with the school’s help, found two girls to help her throughout her service. As an expression of thanks to these two young women, Carol decided to help pay their way through high school. They both went on to college thanks to her financial support. On a visit to her host country many years later, she was able to see the impact her help made.
From Service to Advocacy
Carol says her Peace Corps experience forever changed her life. "Volunteers are forever remembered by the students, colleagues, and citizens of the places where they worked and lived for two years.” Her passion for the Peace Corps recently led her to become a citizen advocate with the NPCA. In recent years she participated in the Capitol Hill portion of our annual National Day of Action in March. She's also organized district office meetings back in Minneapolis with her elected representatives.
And, Carol is registered to be with us on Capitol Hill this September 22nd to bring a powerful, collective voice to make sure our elected leaders know the importance of ensuring the future of the Peace Corps.
Carol remembers being nervous during her first visit to Capitol Hill, but has a message for others who might be new to advocacy. "We were well trained and a small team of us went together. We met mostly with staff members assigned to Peace Corps issues though we were excited to meet directly with one or two Senators and Representatives." By her second year, Carol felt like an experienced advocate. And, she saw results. “After seeing the many legislative successes in the past couple years, we can each feel that we played a part and see this work is important.”
Carol also goes the extra mile in another way. A member of our Shriver's Circle, Carol is a strong financial contributor to the NPCA, and made a dedicated donation to help support our 55th anniversary Capitol Hill advocacy day. Every year, she sees the NPCA expanding projects of service to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, including job information, skill building for further service abroad, or travel abroad. "NPCA needs resources for these new projects and for current ones. I see the Advocacy Day work as key to keeping strong support for NPCA and for the Peace Corps."
Carol stresses the importance of Advocacy Day and urges others to join her. “If [everyone] could come to Advocacy Day in large numbers, we would make a strong message that more people be accepted in Peace Corps”.
Now, it's up to you. Join our August featured advocate and the rest of our dedicated advocates on September 22nd, for a day of skill-building, networking, legislative impact and fun!