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Illinois 50-Plus Set Encouraged to Think Beyond the Retirement Golf Greens

May 22, 2008

Chicago, IL - The Peace Corps -- it's not just for the younger generation any more. The Corps is seeking out Illinois residents in the 50-plus set who are looking for adventure during retirement, and it's partnering with AARP to encourage people to look beyond the 18th hole.

Ron Tschetter, director of the Peace Corps, says volunteering fits well with Baby Boomers who don't want to stop being productive when they leave the work force.

"One of the traits Baby Boomers share is that they are givers. Not only do they give their resources, but they also give of themselves and they have a very high propensity for volunteerism."

Tschetter says that, although President John F. Kennedy focused on new college graduates when he established the Peace Corps almost 50 years ago, there is no age limit for volunteers. In fact, the oldest serving Peace Corps volunteer was 86 when he finished his two years working as an educator in Hungary, one of more than 100 countries in which the Peace Corps operates.

AARP Illinois state director Bob Gallo says Baby Boomers have different ideas about retirement. They look at volunteering as more of an opportunity for a new mini-career, and he says there is no other group of people that can offer more experience, maturity and demonstrated ability than older adults.

"Imagine someone who's a retired engineer, physician, nurse, even someone who's worked at home and raised a family all her life. Each of them has something valuable to offer other communities and individuals."

More information about volunteering can be found online

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - IL