May is Older Americans Month, which Peace Corps is highlighting with stories about older volunteers. Some readers of Not Exactly Retired have a special interest in this, so I am sharing a few of these stories here, which also lets you hear some voices besides my own.
The article Older Americans are key players abroad provides a nice overview. “Because of their extensive skills and experience, older Volunteers often make significant contributions in their communities abroad,” it says. Among those featured is Dorothy Woolridge, pictured here, a returned volunteer who arrived in Ghana at age 79 and is also profiled in this article.
Fifth time’s the charm: Volunteer reflects on a decade of experience overseas tells the story of Paul Menard, below, who has served in the Peace Corps five times since 2000, in El Salvador, Senegal, Romania, Namibia and Burkina Faso.
My colleague Anne Reid, a former dancer and choreographer from Harlem, just published an article about Bringing African Dance to Moldova. That’s Anne in purple, in the background.
Peace Corps is also featuring an article I wrote about Serving as an older American: Insights and tips from the field. Also online is my 5-part series about older Peace Corps Volunteers in Moldova, in which they discuss how the experience has surprised them, affected their lives and changed their plans for the future.
Finally, Peace Corps has produced several videos about older volunteers, such as this one about Janet VanBenThuysen, above, who served in Kyrgystan. The video below features an older volunteer in Zambia.
If you want to learn more, check out this special Peace Corps website, which addresses the special concerns of older applicants.
A final thought: I am usually dubious of honorary “months.” I used to mutter to my news office colleagues about some concocted “week” or “month” we were asked to promote. When it comes to Peace Corps, though, I am willing to make an exception, with enthusiasm. Perhaps I’m just getting older.
(Images from the Peace Corps website.)