February 25, 2006: Headlines: COS - Jamaica: Jamaica Gleaner: Peace Corps Jamaica is one of the most successful in the world, says Suchet Loois

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Jamaica: Peace Corps Jamaica : The Peace Corps in Jamaica: February 25, 2006: Headlines: COS - Jamaica: Jamaica Gleaner: Peace Corps Jamaica is one of the most successful in the world, says Suchet Loois

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Peace Corps Jamaica is one of the most successful in the world, says Suchet Loois

Peace Corps  Jamaica is one of the most successful in the world, says Suchet Loois

"The purpose of the celebrations is to acknowledge God for his blessings on Peace Corps Jamaica, as our second longest running agenda worldwide. We will use the period to inform the public of our history and work as well," says Dr. Loois.

Peace Corps Jamaica is one of the most successful in the world, says Suchet Loois

Peace Corps Ja - among most successful worldwide
published: Saturday | February 25, 2006

Joseph Cunningham, Gleaner Writer

PEACE CORPS Jamaica is one of the most successful in the world, says Suchet Loois, head of the local chapter of this United States Government programme.

Internationally the Peace Corps is celebrating its 45th anniversary. This milestone will also be marked locally.

"The purpose of the celebrations is to acknowledge God for his blessings on Peace Corps Jamaica, as our second longest running agenda worldwide. We will use the period to inform the public of our history and work as well," says Dr. Loois.

The corps first came to Jamaica in 1962, the year of the country's Independence and has since posted a total of 3,300 volunteers to the island with a further 111 currently serving two-year terms here.


Established to promote mutual understanding between Americans and other nationalities, the corps currently operates in 138 developing countries. Its first volunteers in Jamaica worked in library development, vocational education, and agriculture. Today Peace Corps workers in Jamaica assist in conservation, information technology, promoting healthy living, and helping young people to gain the skills and education they need for their future.

The 111 volunteers in Jamaica will have already gone through a relatively arduous application process. Candidates must first attend an introductory meeting to learn about the work and history of the corps. At this same session they must also fill out a 27-page application form to investigate their management and leadership skills. And after all this they must undergo a rigid medical examination.


There are no age barriers (Volunteer of the Week, Bob Keagi is 72 years old) and if accepted candidates are assigned based on their professional skills. In Jamaica they are assigned to two different programmes. The first is Youth-as-Promise which focuses on youth development . The second is Crisis Corps which deals with natural disaster relief and reconstruction.

The corps works closely with local organisations including the Jamaica Red Cross. Under a recently signed agreement, volunteers may soon be attached to all 14 Red Cross parish headquarters.

Julie Burnette from Tennessee and Robin Carlson, Chicago, are assigned to 'Youth-as-Promise'. Like every other volunteer they are expected to 'blend in'. What this means is that they have had to live with a Jamaican family for six weeks, familiarise themselves with Patois, learn to cook local foods and even hand wash their own clothes.


Assigned to the community of Flankers in St. James, their experience of Jamaica will be far different from that of their countrymen frolicking on local beaches this Spring Break. As the new batch of volunteers explained to Volunteer Today when they arrived in July, "This is not the Beach Corps!"

And their presence has not gone unappreciated by locals. According to Marilyn Nash, administrator at the Flankers Peace and Justice Community Centre, "To get trained professionals to serve freely is just remarkable. We have seen significant improvement with each student. Students even visit their home for assistance."

When this story was posted in March 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise Date: February 27 2006 No: 800 March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise
On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency: "Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed--doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language. But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps--who works in a foreign land--will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace. "

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Story Source: Jamaica Gleaner

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