We Need to Mobilize Young People Into a Corona Corps
Corps members could become apprentices for essential jobs while developing leadership skills, empathy, and grit
My mom raised me on her own, on a secretary’s salary. Each day she’d wake up at 6:30 so she could be in her car by 7:30 to make the drive downtown to the Southwestern School of Law, where she oversaw the secretarial pool. She had little to no idea what I was up to during the day. I was a mediocre kid (being generous) at a mediocre high school (University High School) in Santa Monica, surrounded by kids who used to steal cocaine from their parents and race their parents’ cars on Sunset Boulevard. Not so much Fast & Furious as Lame & Entitled. Key to my escaping my tumble toward an unremarkable life was my best friend, Brett.
Brett’s defining feature was his faith — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brett, his family, and his church took me in. I played on their sports teams, went to dinners on Monday family nights at the Jarvises, attended dances, and even dated (if you could call it that) some Mormon girls. There was no proselytizing, nobody ever asked me or my mom for anything, or made me feel anything but welcome.
Brett also gave me the sense that I could go to a good college, as he had decided he was going to Stanford. Brett was smarter and harder working than me, but not that much smarter or harder working. After his freshman year at Stanford, similar to his older brother and his dad before that, Brett went on a mission. In his case, to Brussels.
The LDS church has 67,000 full-time missionaries around the world. Most are young people under 25, serving for 18–24 months. They fund their own missions. Most missionaries proselytize, but service hours are required daily. In some parts of the world, they serve purely humanitarian/service missions.
The Peace Corps
In 1951, Representative John F. Kennedy said, “young college graduates would find a full life in bringing technical advice and assistance to the underprivileged” around the world. In that calling, they would “follow the constructive work done by the religious missionaries in these countries over the past 100 years.”
Almost a quarter of a million people, including pro wrestler Chyna and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, have served in 142 countries for the Peace Corps. With the outbreak of…