Jimmy Kimmel, PCV


Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from David Jarmul who writes Not Exactly Retired — JCoyne


Jimmy Kimmel, PCV

by djarmul

Should Jimmy Kimmel join the Peace Corps?

That’s what Rep. Joe Kennedy III jokingly encouraged on Wednesday when he appeared as a guest on the comedian’s late-night show.

The exchange was light-hearted but highlighted how little many Americans know about the Peace Corps, and how even fewer regard it as something they might do themselves.

Kimmel opened by asking Kennedy about his famous relatives, then switched to his volunteer service in the Dominican Republic. “What goes on in the Peace Corps?” Kimmel asked with a smile. “Do they come to your house and they take you to another country?”

“No, you actually have to get on a plane,” replied Kennedy. “That’s the ‘volunteer’ part.”

The Massachusetts Democrat went on to describe the Peace Corps as “an organization close to my heart [that] does an awful lot of good around the world” and his service as “the most impactful experience” of his life. 

Back in 2011, Champa and I heard Joe Kennedy speak eloquently about his Peace Corps service at an event at Arlington National Cemetery honoring the organization’s 50th anniversary. He announced his candidacy for Congress a few weeks later.

On Wednesday, when he said Peace Corps is “not for everybody,” Jimmy Kimmel quickly agreed. “It is probably a great experience,” he said, “one that I and no one in my family will ever have.” Both he and Kennedy laughed.

Fair enough. If I were Jimmy Kimmel, I wouldn’t walk away from a network talk show and millions of dollars, especially with a young family. More to the point, if the thought of leaving America for two years to serve in a distant community sounds unappealing, then it’s not a good fit for Jimmy Kimmel or anyone else. Especially during the past year, he has emerged as an important voice on health care, immigration and other issues. He and others can pursue meaningful lives in so many ways.

Indeed, Kimmel said, “You know if I did that, everyone would think it was a joke. Nobody would believe I went to volunteer for the Peace Corps.”

I’m a big Jimmy Kimmel fan, so I’m glad he didn’t take the idea seriously. But maybe some of his viewers did. The Peace Corps is mentioned so rarely on television that it’s all but invisible to many Americans, some of whom might make great volunteers. I hope this exchange caused at least a few of them to give it some thought.

That’s one of the things I’ve been trying to do with this blog, albeit on a smaller scale. Some readers of Not Exactly Retired, especially those nearing retirement, have written me to say it helped them picture Peace Corps service and consider it for themselves. I’ve treasured those messages. (If you’re reading this and have a similar story, please let me know!)

As Joe told Jimmy: “There’s no age limit on volunteers. You could sign up today.”

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One Comment

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  • Hello,

    Saw your note on Joe Kennedy’s guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, and wanted to thank you for the posting, which is an encouragement as I work here in the Philippines.

    I am blessed with amazing opportunity to engage in work of significance, to the Filipinos with whom I work, the province, the country, our countries and globally. I came in support of a technological university of seven campuses, primarily tasked to work in Coastal Resources Management as a Research Specialist, seeking to rebuild aquaculture ponds and systems, engage in capacity building with faculty of a few of the campuses. Through coordination with faculty, I work principally in capacity building, writing proposals and supporting research.

    I have found a unique niche of rewarding work as a volunteer with a background in biology (B.S.) and civil engineering (M.A.S., P.E.). The initial involvement has been furthered by the university, whose administration has sought my engagement in supporting ISO 9001 Quality Assurance, producing seminars and workshops on proposal writing and contracting, supporting research at a Climate Change Institute, engaging in Intellectual Property preservation through patenting, developing programs in ecotourism and coastal resource preservation by establishing sea-turtle hatcheries and care facilities, and developing a project for conservation and restoration of agricultural land lost to the lahars emanating from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, through a combination of agro-forestry and watershed engineering.

    So I’m a bit busy, but I just wanted to drop a note of thanks. If you know of funders who are interested to support any of the kinds of projects mentioned above (especially engaging local fisheries folk in aquaculture ponds and university research in aquaculture, engagement of indigenous peoples in reclaiming communities lost to the volcano, or establishing turtle hatcheries and coral reef ecotourism, we are moving forward on all of these things together, and I’d love to talk to anybody who might be in support. It’s amazing stuff.

    Kind regards,

    Dirk J. Bouma, PE, MAS, USPCRV
    Coastal Resources Management Research Specialist

    Ramon Magsaysay Technological University | 2nd Fl., RETPGD SS&P Office, Iba, Zambales, 2201, Philippines
    O: +63 47 811 1683 | D/FT/SG: +63 999 355 8839

    27 N Fenwick Street | Arlington | Virginia | 22201 | USA
    O: +1 703 836 0208 | D: +1 240 425 2854 | F: CF +1 703 836 0208

    U.S. Peace Corps Response, Philippines | 6/F PNB Financial Center, Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City 1308 Philippines | Tel (632) 833.6420 | Fax (632) 833.6425
    “. . . ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy (Inaugural Address, 1961)

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