San Diego Peace Corps Association

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Preface: The Umbrella of "USA Freedom Corps"
USA Freedom Corps serves as an umbrella for volunteer networks: National Service Programs, Volunteer Service Initiatives, Volunteer Service Action Priorities... Under USA Freedom Corps, "presidential initiatives" promotea number of volunteer efforts within administration-controlled formats. Peace Corps is listed under this "umbrella," though as yet Peace Corps is still administratively separate.

Promoting Volunteerism is a great idea. Part of its strength is that it is a two-way learning situaton, as RPCVs know well.

  • Are these programs focused on mutual understanding & exchange? or
  • Are they focused in patronizing or condescending ways?
  • Can RPCVs help make volunteerism a mutually beneficial experience, at home and abroad? How?

Examine the rhetoric of these programs for yourself–especially since Peace Corps seems to be organized with them.
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USA Freedom Corps
http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/index.asp

"In January 2002, President George W. Bush created the USA Freedom Corps to capture the spirit of sacrifice that emerged throughout our communities and provide Americans with meaningful opportunities to serve their communities and our country."

• NATIONAL SERVICE PROGRAMS
--Americorps http://www.americorps.org

"At the request of President Bush, AmeriCorps has expanded its work to include projects directly related to homeland security."

--Citizen Corps http://www.citizencorps.gov

"It provides opportunities for people to participate in a range of measures to make their families, their homes, and their communities safer from the threats of crime, terrorism, and disasters of all kinds."

--Learn & Serve America http://www.learnandserve.org

"Learn and Serve America makes grants to schools, colleges, and nonprofit groups to support efforts to engage students in community service linked to academic achievement and the development of civic skills."

--Peace Corps http://www.peacecorps.gov/

“For more than four decades, the volunteers of the Peace Corps
have carried the good will of America into many parts of the world.
Interest in this program is greater than ever before.” – President George W. Bush on May 21, 2003

--Senior Corps http://www.seniorcorps.gov/Default.asp

"Senior Corps taps the skills, talents, and experience of more than 500,000 Americans age 55 and older to meet a wide range of community needs through three programs: RSVP, Foster Grandparents, and Senior Companions."

• VOLUNTEER SERVICE INITIATIVES
--American History, Civics & Service:

http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/about_usafc/initiatives/civics.asp

"Americans need to understand our history in order to be engaged and effective citizens in a democratic society. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which tracks both Civics and American History understanding among K-12 students, less than one quarter of America's students are proficient in either subject."

--Students in Service to America http://www.studentsinservicetoamerica.org/

"President George W. Bush has called on all Americans to commit at least 4,000 hours—the equivalent of two years over the course of their lives—to the service of others. By serving something greater than themselves, young people will learn about their rich democratic traditions as Americans, help meet vital community needs, and become responsible and engaged citizens."

--Take Pride in America http://www.takepride.gov

"Together we must maintain our natural, cultural and historic resources and improve them so that we can all enjoy them now and our children and grandchildren can enjoy them in the future."

-- VfP: Volunteers for Prosperity http://www.volunteersforprosperity.gov/

"The Volunteers for Prosperity initiative...is based upon longstanding principles of the United States to assist in the development of other nations and pursue a global health and prosperity agenda essential to national security." [Administered under USAID]