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Making a Difference at Home

Reed Dickson, a returned Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia and former director of the Teachers College Peace Corps Fellows program, believes that Peace Corps service also has a surprising long-term effect: it makes people want to give of themselves beyond that one experience.
More than 61 million Americans volunteer in some way — caring for family members, helping friends, assisting at schools, churches and hospitals, usually close to home. For a smaller number, service is a way of life — a full-time job, a calling.

An example of those who heed the calling are the members of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVS) who teach in some of New York City's most challenging schools. Many of the volunteers who have worked in impoversed communities bring back the lessons they learned abroad and seek lives of purpose in struggling U.S. communities.

Started in 1985 at Teachers College at Columbia University, Fellows/USA now offers 50 programs at 42 participating universities in areas such as economics, nursing, public health, agriculture, social work and urban planning, as well as teacher education. About 4,000 RPCVS across the country, including the teachers at Brooklyn International, have earned master's degrees through Fellows/USA.

Reed Dickson, a returned Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia and former director of the Teachers College Peace Corps Fellows program, believes that Peace Corps service also has a surprising long-term effect: it makes people want to give of themselves beyond that one experience. "Peace Corps opens your eyes to the disparities that exist in the world and helps develop the political and moral will to stay committed," Dickson says.
 
Making a Difference at Home appeared online at Times.com in August 2007.

Published Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2007

Making a Difference at Home

More than 61 million Americans volunteer in some way — caring for family members, helping friends, assisting at schools, churches and hospitals, usually close to home. For a smaller number, service is a way of life — a full-time job, a calling.

An example of those who heed the calling are the members of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVS) who teach in some of New York City's most challenging schools. Many of the volunteers who have worked in impoversed communities bring back the lessons they learned abroad and seek lives of purpose in struggling U.S. communities.

Started in 1985 at Teachers College at Columbia University, Fellows/USA now offers 50 programs at 42 participating universities in areas such as economics, nursing, public health, agriculture, social work and urban planning, as well as teacher education. About 4,000 RPCVS across the country, including the teachers at Brooklyn International, have earned master's degrees through Fellows/USA.

Reed Dickson, a returned Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia and former director of the Teachers College Peace Corps Fellows program, believes that Peace Corps service also has a surprising long-term effect: it makes people want to give of themselves beyond that one experience. "Peace Corps opens your eyes to the disparities that exist in the world and helps develop the political and moral will to stay committed," Dickson says.
 
Making a Difference at Home appeared online at Times.com in August 2007.
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