On this day in 1961, Peace Corps was formally authorized by Congress with passage of the Peace Corps Act.
Photo credit: Abbie Rowe, White House Photographs John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston
This poem was shared with us today, as the closing of our Peace Corps Staging event in Philly. It was written by Meleia Egger, who served in Malawi 2008-10.
A Message for Soon to be Volunteers
The Peace Corps, is a twenty-seven-month-long-commitment,
little do you know, you are in it for life…
Happy Birthday, Mr. President!
President John F. Kennedy greets the first group of departing Peace Corps Volunteers, leaving for Tanganyika and Ghana, in the the Oval Office.
Photographer: Robert Knudsen/White House, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston
Beginning our Peace Corps experience on his birthday.Source: peacecorps
The websites and recruiters tell you that it will take about 12 months from when an applicant submits their application until they receive their invitation to serve, and sometimes a little longer for married couples. While I think this can be the case, it seems to only be the case when stars align perfectly. In no way do I think that the recruiters are purposefully trying to create false expectations, my opinion is that there are many hoops and hurdles to jump, so it lengthens the process. As we are a few days out from our departure to Cameroon, I thought I would lay out our application process so that it may clarify other Peace Corps applicants on the current time frame to expect.
- Applications submitted on the Peace Corps Website.
- Fingerprint and background check forms submitted.
- Interview with our regional recruiter; told we were initially approved. This now means our recruiter looks for a position that each of us qualify for, when this is found, we are nominated to the position.
- Received our nomination; we were nominated to a business advising and health position in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an expected departure date of January 2012.
- Received all of our medical, legal, and dental paperwork to complete for our legal clearances.
- By the end of June, we had submitted all of the above paperwork to Peace Corps HQ for review.
- Received our clearances from the medical, dental, and legal offices. (Note: we had a few circumstances that needed more information or follow up, so this may have taken longer for us than for others.)
- Final Suitability Interview to determine whether or not we still qualified for service.
- Informed that we ‘passed’ our final suitability interview and would soon be hearing about information about when to expect our assignments (early March).
- Received our Invitation Kit, which included our assignments and tons of other financial and legal information for service in the Peace Corps.
- Accepted our positions to serve in Cameroon!
- Getting ready to go; filling out student loan paperwork, yellow fever vaccines, packing, buying things we will need, reading travel books on Cameroon, and spending time with family and friends.
May 29, 2012: IT ALL BEGINS!
- May 29th, we head to Philadelphia.
- May 30th, training in Philly with all of the Volunteers heading to Cameroon.
- May 31st, fly out to Cameroon!
All in all, it took us about 19 months from when we submitted our application on the website until we take off for our country of service. If you are a Peace Corps applicant now, my best advice to you is be patient and follow up. Follow up with your recruiter, keep checking in, and definitely follow up with your clearances, as it seems there is always something more you can provide to them to move things along quicker.
If you know me well, you know I am not the quickest to let things go, to move on, or to drop hard feelings. I have always understood that work and personal lives should be separate, but, if I was having a bad day at home, it surely followed me into work.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned from teaching Kindergarten is to let things go - to smile - and to laugh. Simple. Yes, I know. But for me, this lesson has been very freeing. Outside of the classroom there are so many stressors, but, when I would walk into my class and see 15 smiling, happy, and adorable little kids, I realized that it was not fair to carry my baggage into their little, innocent, lives.
I am so thankful for this experience in Pyeongchon if only for that. I feel like I have learned a major life lesson for myself, and that is invaluable.
The truth of the situation too, is that after laughing, singing, and showing love, a lot of these ‘issues’ really aren’t worth the time or energy spent stressing over them. So thank you, Owl Class of Room 5 in Pyeongchon, for teaching me how to move on. The ABCs will come, but these life lessons are difficult to learn, and I am thankful for the continual opportunity to be a student.