|As we wrap up National Volunteer Week, here’s some news we’re delighted to share: Volunteers who serve in the Peace Corps and return home to Maryland will now be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities and colleges. Gov. Larry Hogan signed that into law earlier this month. We at NPCA played a key role in supporting this long-overdue legislation. Dozens of returned Volunteers submitted written testimony, and I joined former Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen in testifying before legislators.
This is just one reminder of how we can make an impact when we work together. Right now, with Volunteers returning to service overseas, they need your support in the U.S. House of Representatives: RPCV Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter calling for $450 million for the Peace Corps in the next fiscal year. The deadline is this Friday, April 22, for representatives to add their names. See if your representative has signed on — and if they haven’t, please ask them to show support for Volunteers from your home state.
Carol Spahn, whom President Biden plans to nominate to serve as Peace Corps Director, made it clear last year that work by Volunteers across all sectors will be shaped in part by the need to address two global crises. We need to address the impacts of COVID-19. And we need to mitigate the impacts of climate change, recognizing that countries where Volunteers serve are some of the most vulnerable. That fact is on the minds of many of us as we mark Earth Day on April 22. Two years ago, plans for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day were upended by COVID-19. But the dangers we reported on in WorldView magazine have not abated.
Instead, we have added human-made crises to the mix, including a catastrophic war in Ukraine that, the World Food Programme warns, could lead to a disastrous food crisis within months: 50 percent of the food the program purchases comes from Ukraine. In the face of all this, members of the Peace Corps community seek to solve problems — whether that’s through fixing policies or hands-on assistance. That includes working with refugees, providing financial assistance, and more — including the LGBTQ+ RPCV Affiliate Group, which is rallying support for LGBTQ+ Ukrainians.
As I’ve written in the new edition of WorldView magazine — which has just gone into the mail — this is a time of hope for the Peace Corps and a time of crisis globally. We welcome your support in ensuring the important work of building peace and friendship continues.
President and CEO