It was on October 4, 1960 that then-Senator John F. Kennedy first spoke publicly about the idea of the Peace Corps.
As Kennedy envisioned it, he asked “How many of you, who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world?”
His audience responded to that call to action. Within days from 1,000 and then 25,000 volunteers pledged themselves to volunteer work overseas. From this auspicious moment the Peace Corps grew. As I write this, over 210,000 Americans have served in 139 countries.
But now there is a new call to action regarding a crisis that is not overseas. It is on our very shores. It is a caregiving crisis…and as our population ages we are seeing more and more of a need for caregivers for our aging population.
Many of these seniors have limited resources and no one to turn to. And as our population ages over the next 20 years, this crisis in caregiving will reach massive proportions.
To meet this, there has recently been a proposal for a new Corps…not to serve overseas, but right here at home. A Caregiver Corps. This proposed organization would do for the senior citizens of our country what the Peace Corps has been doing for 50 years overseas, helping those in need.
These volunteers would assist seniors in all manner of activities, and provide a welcome bit of respite care for beleaguered caregivers who need a break.
This idea is in its infancy, and while I didn’t come up with it I am willing to do what I can to support the idea and see it come to fruition. As a caregiver myself I can see exactly how such a Caregiver Corps could provide enormous benefits to our country and at the same time saving the country billions of dollars that would have to go to pay for the costs of caregiving.
This is an idea that is beginning to take hold at the grassroots level, and we are actively assistance from those in power to help our idea come to fruition. I would personally ask you to visit the Facebook page for the Caregiver Corps so that we can begin the process of spreading this idea around the country.
In this way we can start to do as much good at home as the Peace Corps has brought to foreign lands.