Returning Peace Corps volunteers serve rural Illinois communities

color_wiu copy The Peace Corps Fellows Program is a pre-professional corps of rural community and economic developers. The program recruits recently returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) into a two-year graduate program at Western Illinois University (WIU). Fellows receive specialized training in community and economic development during the first year in the program, in order to prepare them for an eleven-month, community-based internship and full-time AmeriCorps assignment in the second year of the program.

During their AmeriCorps service, Fellows lead community and economic development projects and are responsible for mobilizing local volunteers to assist with the implementation of projects such as: downtown revitalization, business retention and expansion, entrepreneurship development, tourism development, community housing, health education and outreach, volunteer management, and organizational capacity building.

“Peace Corps Fellows are very resourceful.  They are used to working with limited resources and instruction.  They require little management and have a very strong work ethic and proven desire to make a difference. [Our AC member] was well prepared to develop, implement, evaluate and modify our colleague wellness program.”

– Kim Luz, St. John’s Hospital. 

This program builds on the Peace Corps model by recruiting returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) to serve AmeriCorps assignments in underserved, rural communities in Illinois. Generous financial and education packages are available to Members and academic credit is awarded for AmeriCorps service. Relevant professional development, in addition to academic preparation, is provided to Members throughout the service year.

The PCF program also allows host sites/rural communities to access individuals with unique skills, experiences, advanced training, and global perspectives. If not for this program, these communities would not likely attract or retain such individuals.

Read more on pg. 18 of the 2014 Edition of Transforming Communities Through Service.

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Returning Peace Corps volunteers serve rural Illinois communities

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