Action Alert: Help Push For Peace Corps!
Anyone who loves service loves the Peace Corps, because it's one of the most storied and effective service programs America has ever devised. President Obama knows that it is one of the most effective tools America has to build bonds of trust and understanding with other nations, and during his campaign promised to double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011, which just happens to be the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary. That would take it to 16,000 volunteers (keep in mind that President Kennedy originally envisioned a Peace Corps of 100,000 Americans).
Getting there will naturally require funding, and our friends at Push For Peace Corps are on a blitz to show the Congress that there is popular support for giving Peace Corps the funding it needs to expand. With House appropriators getting ready to act on the President's 2011 budget request, Push For Peace Corps is urging Representatives to sign onto a "Dear Colleague" letter being circulated by Rep. Sam Farr (who served in Colombia 1964-1966). The letter points out that in 2009 more than 15,000 Americans applied to the Peace Corps for only 4,000 slots, and calls for FY 2011 funding for Peace Corps of $465 million (an increase of $65 million over last year, and an increase of almost $19 million above what President Obama has requested in his 2011 budget).
To date, the letter has 71 House co-signers, and Push For Peace Corps is, um, pushing to get 100 signatories by early next week. Will you contact you Representative's office this week and urge him or her to sign the letter and support more Peace Corps funding? Fast action is critical and PFPC has put together an Action Center where you can read the letter, and then contact your Representative. It just takes a few minutes and it's critical that we who believe in the power of service (and the Peace Corps) make our voices heard.
Push For Peace Corps has received support in their drive from some interesting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, including New Yorker writers George Packer (Togo 1982-1983) and Peter Hessler (China 1996-1998), and you can read what they have to say on PFPC's blog. Peace Corps is one of the great foundations of service in America, so please take a few minutes to help out. And if you need a little extra inspiration, there is no one better than the President who started it all: