do your little good

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Sometimes the challenges of the world can seem overwhelming. Wars are unfolding in multiple nations, the constant rhythm of impending climate disasters, underfunded communities, and unequal justice. However, when the going gets tough, time and again we see Americans getting tougher. Consider the words of Desmond Tutu: “Do your little good where you are; it is these little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

Doing good in the face of daunting challenges requires courage and collaboration. It requires taking action, taking on the challenges of the world and, even when the solutions seem out of reach, never giving up.

For nearly 90 years combined, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps have given changemakers the opportunity every day to connect with others to do their share of good – strengthening communities and transforming lives in the process. AmeriCorps’ mission to make service to others an indispensable part of the American experience depends on it. The Peace Corps World Peace and Friendship Mission does too. The fundamental premise under which both federal agencies operate is that all problems, no matter how small, can be solved by people who are determined to roll up their sleeves, get involved and make a difference. When brave people join hands and look outward, when they put their minds together and think differently, or when they stand side by side, there is no challenge they cannot solve.

Over the past two years, the Peace Corps has brought together volunteers, who previously served in every decade, to serve virtually when COVID has prevented in-person service overseas. And, for only the second time in the agency’s history, volunteers were deployed to the United States; this time to help with the COVID-19 response alongside FEMA. Many returning Peace Corps volunteers who were evacuated due to COVID have returned from service ready to continue their journey of national service with AmeriCorps.

Kieran began his two-year service in Madagascar as an English teacher. He taught sophomore classes, each with nearly 60 students. However, due to the pandemic, Kieran left Madagascar and returned to the United States only 18 months after entering service. Wanting to do something more, Kieran joined AmeriCorps VISTA and worked with KidSight MO, a nonprofit children’s vision screening organization in Kansas City that specializes in providing aftercare and support. financial assistance to children with potential vision problems. He was part of the team that screened more than 67,000 children across Missouri last year to prevent vision loss and help children be ready to learn in school.

If you, like Kieran, are interested in working alongside a host community overseas to foster peace and friendship around the world, we invite you to learn more about the Peace Corps website. If serving with organizations to strengthen communities across the United States speaks to you, you may find an opportunity with US Corps.

There’s no better time to get involved in your community or to work alongside neighbors in the United States and around the world. During National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 17 to 23, you can take the first step in your own community. Find opportunities by postcode on americorps.gov/volunteer. Is there a local need you can think of? Are you passionate about something and have skills to give? Whether you have an hour or a day, you can take action. And that action has a ripple effect – your connections, your work, your impact can last a lifetime.

The courage to do your little good with many others, to build relationships and to dare to improve things is a double gift. First, it’s a hope force multiplier, and it’s the only way to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. And second, it strengthens the individual and collective human spirit to know that we matter and that our contributions make a difference. It gives us the fuel we need to continue making a difference for our communities, our country and the world.

We encourage you to find your place and dive in. Find a challenge you want to support and do your little good: Volunteering.

Carol Spahn is CEO of The Peace Corps and Michael D. Smith Its CEO is AmeriCorps.

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