JUNE 20, 1962
HYDE PARK—If you happen to be in New York City any day this week—no matter what part of the country you come from—I'd like to urge you to wander down 42nd Street and look at 4 East 42nd Street. The Peace Corps is spending this week at this address after having spent a similar amount of time in a number of other cities around the country.
This information center is available to anyone interested, and if you can't call in person the telephone number is OXford 7-7844. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 at night, and Peace Corps workers are constantly on hand to answer questions. If there is any prospective volunteer in your family, there are pamphlets and brochures and questionnaires that may be packed up or mailed on request.
Also, you are invited to sit down and watch for an hour or so documentary films showing Peace Corps work and training in Tanganyika. These are shown in a room separate from the interview room, and admission is free. Remember, this office will be open at least until this coming Saturday.
In 20 other major American cities where these temporary Peace Corps offices were set up the attendance was excellent and enthusiastic. Mr. Arnie Zack, who is the special assistant for public affairs in the Peace Corps, told me, "Many of our present-day volunteers, who are now all over the world, made their first contacts with the corps through our traveling information office." I also learned that senior staff members are speaking at vocational schools, at schools for nursing, and wherever an interest is shown in knowing more about the Peace Corps.
The particular requirements at present are for nurses, teachers, building tradesmen, automobile mechanics, engineers and health technicians. A college education is not necessary for many Peace Corps positions if the applicant has experience in his field. The minimum age for acceptance in the corps is 18. There is no upper-age limit, and married couples who have no dependents are also eligible for many volunteer positions.
As a rule, training begins with eights weeks at an American college or university where the history and the customs and the language of the country to which the trainee may be going are chiefly emphasized. The second part of the training is a four-week period in Puerto Rico. These four weeks are designed to build confidence in the trainee in meeting unusual situations which may arise during his tour of duty anywhere in the world. Then the final phase of training is in the host country where the trainee is going to work. This usually does not exceed four weeks.
The volunteers receive an allowance sufficient to cover food, clothing, housing, medical and miscellaneous needs. An effort is made in the Peace Corps to avoid the mistakes of having our workers live at a different standard from the people in whose country they are working. These differing standards have been in evidence with our soldiers all over the world and have created antagonisms.
Peace Corps volunteers get $75 a month banked for them in this country, which they will get on their return unless they have made certain allotments during their period of service. The volunteers also receive 30 days of leave during the year, which does give them an opportunity for travel and contact with the country in the area in which they may be staying.
To change from the Peace Corps to a phase of American business, I want to mention that the National Better Business Bureau is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Since a number of our business leaders felt that government was encroaching too much in its regulation of business, they banded together in 1912 and organized the National Better Business Bureau to do much of its own regulation.
It serves the public interest by promoting truthful advertising and sales practices in business and industry. It has often succeeded in exposing the charlatans, and it has worked with advertisers and advertising agencies to prevent misleading, untruthful and unethical sales practices. It is one of the best assurances we have that business is willing to accept its responsibilities to the public and to the nation.
I feel the National Better Business Bureau is one of the most reliable sources of information for the public in general and, if properly used, will save many people from being fooled and drawn into situations with unethical and unreliable people or groups.