Community service is a central component of The Shriver Peaceworker Program. From shortly after the program starts through graduation each Peaceworker works part-time (20hrs/wk) in a community service position focused as closely as possible on the area of social concern to which they are drawn. Some recent service focuses have included: homeless Services, ESOL instruction and programming, youth services and education, economic development, community organizing, volunteer and service-learning program coordination. Given the depth of their service experience, Peaceworkers bring significant leadership skills, intercultural sophistication, and creative energy to the organizations in which they work. The experience of domestic service, in turn, allows Peaceworkers to develop themselves professionally and learn about service needs and approaches here at home. As participants in a service-learning program, Peaceworkers are also strongly encouraged to integrate their service work directly with their academic studies in the form of research, writing, or credited internships. Numerous scholarly papers and presentations have resulted from this integration of service experience and academic inquiry.
Service, as Peace Corps Volunteers well know, is a complex term made even more complicated by the community context and history in which it occurs. Exploring the various definitions, theories, strategies, histories and implementations of service is an ongoing component of the Peaceworker ethical reflection curriculum. As Returning Peace Corps Volunteers now pursuing graduate degrees and professional development, Peaceworkers also explore the complex transition from direct, grass-roots service toward professional service careers that are often increasingly removed from the ground. Peaceworker service positions cover this diverse range from direct to indirect service, with some focusing on grassroots service and others focusing on program evaluation, management, or development according to our partner needs.
Our vision is that Peaceworkers will make significant contributions to the organizations and communities they serve and, reciprocally, develop practical and professional skills and gain first hand knowledge of the complex social problems confronting the United States and its cities today.