The Peace Corps for Teens?

The Peace Corps does not offer programs for teens, but this does not mean that high school students can’t change the world.

Every summer tens of thousands of American high school students travel abroad. They travel to explore new places, visit historical sites, become immersed in local culture, and make a difference in communities around the world. Much like Peace Corps volunteers, teens who travel on the right kind of program can work to promote international cooperation and global development.

The Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by president John F. Kennedy to send Americans of all different ages to serve in communities  around the world—and through service promote peace and global friendship. In a sense, Atlas Workshops is an offshoot of that vision. We believe that teens can impact communities and prepare for the new globalized world through collaborative, meaningful research projects in both developed and developing countries.

While the Peace Corps embeds individual volunteers in remote communities for several years, Atlas Workshops brings small groups of American teens on project-based explorations that touch multiple stakeholders, from local community groups to international organizations, from startups to governments, from youth to experts.

When I was last in Nairobi, I met a former Peace Corps volunteer who was working with women’s community groups in rural Kenya to help promote local sustainable businesses, which can in turn contribute to local livelihoods and broader ideas of development. This summer, Atlas Workshops students will travel to East Africa to research local patterns of innovation. The teen participants on our workshops will share ideas from communities and entrepreneurs around Africa, and much like the Peace Corps volunteer, work together to promote local development and forge connections within the international community.

The Peace Corps for Teens may not exist, but the Atlas Workshops model prepares students to be globally engaged, international thinkers. If you are interested, check out our programs this summer or get in touch. We’d love to help you change the world!