On Dec. 8, Peace Corps announced that Vermont ranked No. 1 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps Volunteers per capita for the third straight year, with 52 residents currently serving worldwide in Peace Corps. With a ratio of 8.3 Volunteers for every 100,000 residents, the Green Mountain state has the highest per capita rate in the nation.
In addition, the Burlington-South Burlington metropolitan area ranked No. 3 per capita nationally, with 18 area residents serving as Volunteers, a number which represents 8.3 of every 100,000 residents. Only Ithaca, N.Y., and Missoula, Mont., had higher per capita rates.
Volunteers from Vermont are among the more than 220,000 Americans who have served around the world as agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development volunteers since the agency was founded by President John F. Kennedy. Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, 1,530 Peace Corps Volunteers from Vermont have traveled abroad to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.
“When I left Vermont for Panama, the environmental transition came as a literal shock–I went from shivering in my boots to sweating in my sandals!” said Taylor Dorn, an Essex Junction resident and University of Vermont graduate who is serving as an education volunteer in Panama. “While I am doing a lot of technical and quantifiable work, I feel that the biggest difference I can make is more qualitative things like being friendly and helpful to my community members.”
Vermont schools are also nationally ranked in 2015 on the annual list of the highest Volunteer-producing colleges and universities in the U.S. for small, medium, large and graduate institutions. The University of Vermont holds the No. 7 spot on the medium-size school list while Middlebury College and Saint Michael’s College are No. 3 and No. 20, respectively, on the small-size school list.