60 year old joins Peace Corps - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

60 year old joins Peace Corps

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – From Albany to Albania. A 60-year old grandmother has joined the Peace Corps, and in about three months, she'll leave for her 27-month tour overseas.

Baby boomer Kay Jenkins was just a kid when the Peace Corps began, and the older she got, the more interested she became in joining. But then came marriage and a family and that dream had to wait, until now.

Kay Jenkins rearranges presents that still remain under the Christmas tree, but they're not hers. Neither is the house. "I basically sold just about everything I owned, came down and now I'm living with my son and his wife for the next couple of months until I leave in March."

Giving up all of her possessions so she can give herself to the Peace Corps. It's something she's wanted to do for a long time.

She said, "I can remember back in the 60's I had said I either want to go into the Peace Corps or I wanted to work at the United Nations."

Instead she got married, had a child, taught school and even wrote a book. Now 60, she decided it was time to make that dream from way back when come true.

She said, "I realized I can do this and it's never too late to make a difference." Over the Christmas break she learned she would be stationed in Albania, and her Christmas presents helped prepare her for the trip.

And the 27 month tour overseas may have given her a working title for her next book. "From Albany to Albania, a grandmother does the Peace Corps!"

And she's taking along the younger version of herself on the trip. "I know the 20-year old Kay is excited too, she's coming with me."

To make a difference in the lives of people here at home, and half way around the world.

Jenkins will teach English in Albania. She says most of her family and friends are completely supportive of her decision to join the Peace Corps, though admits that some think she has lost her mind.

The average age of volunteers for the Peace Corps is 27. The oldest volunteer is over 80.

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