What most know of the Peace Corps is that Americans volunteer abroad in foreign countries, living in poverty and working to improve infrastructure. But it doesn’t stop there, the Peace Corps encourages returned volunteers to meet a third goal. The goals, according to the Peace Corps website, are:
1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
Michael Kohan’s answer to the third goal was to arrange an exhibit of photos and stories for Juneau Peace Corps Volunteers to share with the community.
“This whole project kind of stemmed off of the Peace Corps third goal, which is to share your experiences in a foreign country with your community, so bringing back the culture and the idea of how their countries are changing over time…” Kohan said. “It’s outreach, basically, being able to share your experience or else involve other people in projects… it’s not like soliciting, saying ‘I want you to be a Peace Corps Volunteer,’ it’s more just being able to answer questions and be a resource to people if they want to know more…”
The First Friday show March 1 at Silverbow, Kohan said, is partially her response to the third goal, but she said she’s also excited to see the photos and learn about the experiences of other Peace Corps Volunteers, and to get to know people she hasn’t met yet.
“It’s not meant to be some kind of big ordeal, it’s really low-key, it’s just to have fun with what we did, and whether it was a good experience or a bad experience, but just to be able to recap a little bit.” she said of the event.
Kohan is still seeking photos and stories for the upcoming show, asking that past or current volunteers email photos if possible, or contact her to scan physical copies. Many past volunteers in the community are already connected, there have been events in the past, but not everyone. And Kohan is looking forward to meeting the others.
“It’s fun to be able to see the differences between what people did in other countries. People always ask, “What did you do there?” and you’re able to explain on one level your role, but… (Peace Corps Volunteers) gain totally different skills. Being able to live in a community at the impoverished level is probably one of the biggest things, or learning that you can contribute.” Kohan said.
And you can contribute to this event if you served in the Peace Corps or know a past or present volunteer you can encourage to participate. PCVs should email Kohan and submit a photo and anecdote, just one or two paragraphs to provide background for the photo.
Everyone in the community is invited to attend the event and enjoy photos and stories from the many past and present Peace Corps Volunteers from 4:30-7 p.m., March 1 at the Silverbow Bakery back room.
• Contact Kohan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.