Saturday, July 5, 2008

COLLEGE GRADS TURN TO NON-PROFIT WORK

Anne Marie Chaker, Wall Streeet Journal [A] weak economy and increasing civic mindedness are driving grads to work for social causes. Teach for America, the nonprofit organization that sends college graduates to work in low-income public schools, saw applications jump 36% to 24,718 from 18,172 a year ago. Of those, about 3,700 are selected to teach in more than 100 school districts next fall, up more than one-fourth over the year before. . .

The Peace Corps is expecting a 16% increase in applications for the fiscal year ending Oct. 1. Established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps sends volunteers to developing countries to work on education, agriculture and other projects. Enthusiasm for the program reached a peak of more than 15,000 volunteers in 1967 before spiraling downward, bottoming out at 5,219 in 1987. But participation has been climbing again in recent years: Fiscal 2007 saw more than 8,000 volunteers -- a level not seen since the 1970s. . . .

Jesuit Volunteer Corps, which saw a 14% increase in applications through June of this year, sends mainly new college graduates to work in needy communities both domestically and around the world for as long as two years. And WorldTeach, a nonprofit affiliated with Harvard University, sends volunteers to teach English in developing countries. The organization saw applications among college-graduate volunteers increase by a third this year to 363.

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