Joe Jaycox is the youngest of six children born in a poor neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, where he attended De Paul University before joining the U.S. Marine Corps.
During his Peace Corps service, Joe taught baseball, basketball, and other sports to youngsters at a local YMCA in Caracas. He was later assigned to a fishing village in Maracaibo, where he continued his sports programs and taught general hygiene to impoverished local families. During his two years in the nation, he helped to develop the leadership skills of young men and women, some of whom are now YMCA leaders, while forming life-long relationships with Venezuelans.
After leaving the Peace Corps, Jaycox launched a successful business career before retirement. In 2002, Jaycox met former Major League Baseball player Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel, the first Venezuelan to play in an All-Star game and a 1950s shortstop for the Chicago White Sox. The two men became friends and, in 2004, started a nonprofit foundation to help underprivileged children in Venezuela and the United States.
Today, the Chico Carrasquel Foundation (CCF) and "Los Chicos de Chico" buses transport barrio youngsters to YMCA centers, museums, baseball games, and historical places throughout Venezuela. As CCF president, Jaycox has also established scholarships, toy distributions, and musical training for poor children. In the summer of 2011, the organization will also be taking youth from Chicago, Milwaukee, and Gary, Indiana, on bus trips in the U.S. to visit museums and historical sites.
Jaycox insists that his accomplishments show his gratitude for being born "in the USA, on a street called Greenwood, in a neighborhood called Kenwood, and in a great city called Chicago."
About the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1961, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.
Since that time, more than 200,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.
Today's Peace Corps is more vital than ever, continuing to help countless individuals who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities.
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