When John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, he issued a call to service to Americans with these words: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." He manifested this vision by establishing the Peace Corps to promote world peace and friendship.
Currently, 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 70 countries, working to bring clean water to communities, teach children, help start new small businesses, and stop the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 165,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 135 nations.
Volunteers receive intensive language and cross-cultural training in order to become part of the communities where they live. They speak the local language and adapt to the cultures and customs of the people with whom they work.
Volunteers work with teachers and parents to improve the quality of, and access to, education for children. They work with communities to protect the local environment and to create economic opportunities. They work on basic projects to keep families healthy and to help them grow more food. Their larger purpose, however, is to work with people in developing countries to help them take charge of their own futures.