ATLANTA, Ga. – Virginians volunteer for the Peace Corps more than most U.S. states, according to a recent study by the organization.
Virginia ranked fourth among states that produce the most volunteers in the U.S., and ranked sixth per capita, with 4.2 volunteers per 100,000 residents volunteering.
Charlottesville also ranked near the top of the list of volunteers from a metropolitan area. Charlottesville boasted 9.9 volunteers per 100,000 residents.
“Peace Corps volunteers come from all corners of our nation to create grassroots level change in our world,” said Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer Sheila Crowley. “Volunteers share their hometown values and perspectives with the host communities they serve, an intercultural exchange that leaves a legacy of peace and friendship. We are deeply grateful to the extraordinary communities in the U.S. which produce citizens with such a strong sense of purpose.”
Virginia currently has 352 volunteers serving in the Peace Corp’s, and has had 7,917 serve since the agency’s founding in 1961.
Virginia has ranked among the top ten volunteer-producing states since 2011. Virginia ranked eighth among states in 2016 with most Peace Core volunteers.
Richmond native Anthony Muron says of his Peace Corps experience, “the community where I live in Mozambique has made much more of a difference in me than I could ever offer to it. I have gained incredible friendships through an intercultural experience that is impossible to put into words. I only hope that I can do for future friends and communities, in a lifetime, what the people of Mozambique have done for me in just over two and a half years.”
For Muron, it wasn’t ease to first adjust to working for the Peace Corps, but said that the challenge was worth the personal take-a-way from the experience.
“The transition of moving to Mozambique was not an easy one. The first year of the Peace Corps experience was not an expansion of my comfort zone as planned, but a complete shattering and rebuilding of it. It was certainly the most difficult challenge of my life, although I wouldn’t trade it for anything on earth,” added Muron.
California, New York and Florida where the top three states with the most volunteers.