Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in the Granite State. According to new data, New Hampshire ranks No. 5 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita, and  UNH is nationally ranked on the 2014 list of the highest volunteer-producing colleges and universities in the U.S. for small, medium, large and graduate institutions. Fifty-seven Granite Staters are currently serving in the Peace Corps, giving the state a ratio of 4.3 volunteers for every 100,000 residents. UNH holds the No. 11 spot on the medium-size school list.

Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, 1,687 volunteers from New Hampshire have traveled abroad to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.

Sarah Collins of Nashua is one of those UNH graduates. She is currently serving as a community services volunteer in Morocco.

"Many people in my village have never had personal conversations with an American," Collins explained. "I find joy in interacting with the people and showing them that Americans are not always what they see on television. "The Moroccan culture is known globally for being very welcoming and family oriented, and I was pleased to see that my experience has proved that to be true."

The Peace Corps has eight regional recruitment offices across the United States that work closely with prospective Peace Corps volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to ensure that all Americans who want to serve have the opportunity to do so. The Northeast regional recruitment office serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Peace Corps recruiters are based locally throughout the region.

"Peace Corps volunteers promote a better understanding of Americans around the world by sharing their unique hometown perspective during their service," Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. "As we forge a modern Peace Corps for modern times, we remain committed to building a volunteer force that reflects the rich diversity of our country, and doing more to recruit and retain the best and brightest across the country."

The Peace Corps sends Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit