April 18, 2003 - The Little Rock Free Press: Bob Kirby and his wife volunteered with the Peace Corps in Poland from 1992-94. He set up an American Studies Program while she taught high school

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Poland: Peace Corps Poland : The Peace Corps in Poland: April 18, 2003 - The Little Rock Free Press: Bob Kirby and his wife volunteered with the Peace Corps in Poland from 1992-94. He set up an American Studies Program while she taught high school

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 6:36 pm: Edit Post

Bob Kirby and his wife volunteered with the Peace Corps in Poland from 1992-94. He set up an American Studies Program while she taught high school

Bob Kirby and his wife volunteered with the Peace Corps in Poland from 1992-94. He set up an American Studies Program while she taught high school

My pal Avery Dickins (see main story) is fluent in Spanish, and that's bound to come in handy. She decided earlier this year to return to Peru where she's traveled extensively. Because of her love for the culture and the enjoyable challenge of the environment, she's organized a four-month expedition, starting Aug. 5, that she will use to explore job opportunities in the area.

While Dickins has no mapped out plans, she does consider the Peace Corps as a possibility in her future. "I am attracted to living in another country and being somewhere that I can simplify my life to basic necessity and contribute something positive to the world." She likes the Peace Corps' central idea of U.S. citizens sharing their knowledge and compassion with other countries. And the Peace Corps likes her sense of adventure.

At the U.S. Peace Corps, a sense of adventure is considered one of the most attractive qualities on your résumé. Add to that a college degree and an open mind, and you're an ideal candidate.

"So often I see the me, me, me thing," says Bob Kirby, a Peace Corps recruiter in the Dallas regional office. "I don't think people realize how beneficial it is to volunteer. And when I say volunteer, I mean when you go out of your way to help someone, the way people really appreciate you. I don't think you can buy that feeling. You feel that little glow inside that you've done something without want for gratification. It's a marvelous feeling."

... there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something it is because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth. The Soul of the World is nourished by people's happiness... To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation. All things are one. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Kirby, 47, knows the feeling firsthand. He and his wife volunteered with the Peace Corps in Poland from 1992-94. He set up an American Studies Program while she taught high school. They were both teachers in Colorado when they signed up. "We wanted to make a difference in public education and knew it wasn't going to happen in Colorado," Kirby recalls. "My wife had always been talking about the Peace Corps, but I was opposed to it. Sure enough, we helped people over there and felt great acceptance."

The Peace Corps, a nonprofit U.S. government agency headquartered in Washington D.C., was established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Its goals are threefold. In countries that request workers, volunteers teach and provide people with transferable skills. Peace Corps workers also share American culture with them. "That's just to share, not force it," Kirby reminds. Lastly, the Peace Corps brings the world back to share with the rest of America.

"We are invited to their country, and they tell us what they want," Kirby explains. "Return volunteers then go into classrooms and give public talks in libraries to tell Americans what the rest of the world is like and what we can learn from them."

Volunteers are provided with transportation to and from their work site, a monthly stipend, medical and dental care, housing, 24 days of vacation, transportation home for medical or family emergencies and a lump sum of $6,000 upon completion of their assignment. The amount of the monthly stipend varies from country to country. Kirby's own stipend of a few years ago was $357. The Peace Corps also has graduate work and fellowship programs and confers noncompetitive eligibility for government jobs after workers have completed their assignments.Applicants undergo a vigorous screening and interview process before any assignments are issued. The 27-month program, or assignment, includes three months of intensive cultural and language training in a worker's selected country. Even with that degree of preparation, however, the Peace Corps fights a 29 percent dropout rate among volunteers who do make it overseas.

If you're interested in becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, you begin by making an application. Applications are available by calling the appropriate Peace Corps office. They're also available at most colleges and on the Peace Corps' web site. The application will be reviewed in one of the 11 regional offices. If it looks good, you'll get a letter requesting an interview. Interviews can be done over the phone, at the regional office or in the case of several applicants in one area, a recruiter may come to you. Once the paperwork is completed - including school transcripts, résumés, medical screenings and background checks - "we work with them to find a program that interests them and meets their availability dates," Kirby explains. Nomination by a Peace Corps official is the last step before an official invitation is sent to the applicant.

The wait for that official invitation can be pretty long. "It can be a six- to nine-month process," says Kirby. "I always tell people it's worth the wait."

The Peace Corps, which currently has 6,700 volunteers in 78 countries, wants to reach a total of 10,000 volunteers over the course of the next three years. The average age of volunteers right now is 29, and 85 percent are single.The basic requirements are that you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older and in reasonably good health. Nearly all of the programs require workers to have a bachelor's degree, and most countries are asking for business skills. "Agriculture is still a major concern," says Kirby. "It's a tough one to fill for us. Hopefully, more people with that background will look to Peace Corps.

"Because we only do what the countries request, we look at the skills of the volunteer and the country's need, then consider where you want to go," Kirby explains. For example, health and nutrition people are needed in South America and Africa. English teachers are needed everywhere except Central and South America. Biology majors are in demand too.

Kirby works in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico to assist people in learning about the Peace Corps. He will attend a career fair in Little Rock on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Donaghey Student Center. He will also provide information, address questions, provide applications and conduct interviews at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 11500 Financial Center Parkway, from 7-8 .

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Story Source: The Little Rock Free Press

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Poland



By Beckye Bates (career10.uark.edu - on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 10:46 am: Edit Post


I see from this website that you work in the state of Arkansas assisting people to understand the Peace Corps. The Dallas regional office is interested in coming to the University of Arkansas to recruit students and they want help identifying someone here locally (Fayetteville, AR) or connected to the U of A that they can work with to make classroom presentations on the Peace Corps. Can you help identify someone? Thank you.

By Cates (dsl081-234-179.lax1.dsl.speakeasy.net - on Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 10:41 pm: Edit Post

Bob, is your wife's name Jeanetta?

By Celeste Compatore (c-24-22-182-172.hsd1.wa.comcast.net - on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 7:53 pm: Edit Post

are you the Bob, Robert - "God Dog" Kirby I've been searching for??????????????????????

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