After a decline in voluntary membership from 2009 to 2012, the Peace Corps is happy to see a resurgence of eagerness to participate in developing foreign communities.
The Peace Corps itself can attribute this to a simple tweaking of its application for participation, whereby it allows volunteers to select the country in which they wish to serve. Of course, volunteers without any inclinations can let the organization decide their location for them. Any 18 year old American citizen can pick his destination of choice, even his own country of origin, and begin contributing to the development of health and education programs, environmental sustainability programs, economic programs, etc., thereof.
The Corps is certain many will appreciate the opportunity to go back to their countries of origin and help out, even after leaving for the United States. In its youthful years, the organization was a little less liberal with its offerings, designating locations to applications based on need. The attraction of the modified system is that volunteers can choose locations that offer programs in line with their interests and skills from farming to computer science.
The Corps also encourages volunteers to develop their own clubs and programs with purposes that tend to to a community’s specific needs. In this way, the Corps mimics the college major-minor system, which grants students control over what they study. This lets the Peace Corps better guarantee the education and growth of not only the countries it serves, but the volunteers it hires. There will undoubtedly be far more productive use of talent when it is focused to certain tasks over others.
The socio-political principles of the Peace Corps are also adapting to today’s climate, a necessary change if the organization is to stand by its mission to promote and stimulate cultural growth. President Barack Obama has requested greater funding for the programs, now upward of $400 million dollars, which will be used to develop more technologically relevant programs, even helping developing countries gain familiarity with social media platforms and developing their own business ideas. Graduate students are also offered scholarship opportunities, and benefits like greater chances of being hired for governmental positions.
If the program’s service isn’t enough of an educational experience on its own, its aftermath advantages should convince the unsure. Students can expect tuition cost defrayment, access to scholarships, and government stipends for their service. What’s more is applicants can also apply to serve as couples given that they provide the appropriate documentation. Both heterosexual and same-sex couples are invited to participate, able to serve as a unit in the same location if they so please. In this day and age, adaptations such as these are pivotal to the continuing success of the organization.