Peace Corps Week commemorates the week that John F. Kennedy outlined his idea for a program that would send thousands of young Americans overseas. Less than a year later the first Peace Corps Volunteers were sent to Ghana and Nigeria. Peace Corps week is not just a week to celebrate the accomplishments of Peace Corps Volunteers. It is an opportunity to recognize the efforts of all those people who give their time and support to address community needs.
And why is that important?
Because volunteering, serving the community, turns each one of us, into part of the solution. It transforms us from people with complaints and needs into empowered individuals who solve problems. There are many different causes and many different ways to help. You can help children, in an orphanage or at a school. If you have medical expertise, you can volunteer at hospitals or if you’re someone like me with no training, you can visit sick children or hold the hand of an ill patient. You can lobby your parliamentarian to get a bill passed on a cause that is important to you or launch an environmental action, such as picking up trash around lake Sevan.
There are so many ways to help. You can volunteer time, expertise or money. Volunteering empowers each one of us to find solutions to problems. And the solution will be a better one because it comes from us, from the community.
I recently even read an article in the “Washington Post” that said studies show that volunteering makes people happier – that in helping other people, you are also helping yourself.
So there lots of reasons to volunteer!
This is the Embassy’s third annual Volunteer Recognition ceremony held in honor of Peace Corps week. Peace Corps Volunteers could not be successful without the support of community members who give their time and skills to complete community projects. Volunteers know full well how frequently and how passionately Armenians serve their schools, churches, NGOs, and other community organizations.
It is a pleasure to recognize those whose contributions improve the lives of others. And it is a personal honor for me to present certificates of appreciation to some of these Armenians.