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Peace Corps Celebrates It’s 50th Anniversary

In 1961, the president of the United States, President John F. Kennedy urged Americans to volunteer in foreign lands, especially third world countries and help their people have a better life. This was the beginning of The Peace Corps.

John Kennedy Jr. playing in the Oval Office
Photo by Liaison Agency/Getty Images

There were many young people that hurried to sign up to join. Some had college degrees, while some of the people that didn’t; they had skills like farming and carpentry. Many were people from our area, and were mentioned in a story from the Times Union. This included the mayor of Altamont. After he graduated from college in in 1966, James Gaughan joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Ghana. “I had a belief in the good will of people and an ambition to make a small difference in the world,” said Gaughan, is now 67-years-old. Today, The Peace Corps is still going strong, although funding is in peril. In addition to what is needed now, are people with engineering and business degrees.

There are currently almost nine thousand volunteers from all over the U.S. and helping out all over the world. Over the past 50 years, There have been more than 200,000 people that have served in over 100 countries, and provided clean water, education, business development and information technology.

This is one of the most cost-effective agents for diplomacy and development. Have you ever volunteered or wanted to volunteer for The Peace Corps?

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