The Peace Corps is an executive agency of the United States government established by John F. Kennedy in 1961 that screens, deploys and supports development volunteers in over 100 countries around the world. Peace Corps volunteers usually serve for 2 years where they provide technical assistance and promote cultural exchange. When they come home, the agency encourages them to proactively share their experiences in an effort to educate Americans about the world outside their borders.
This is where the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) steps in. The NPCA is the worldwide coordinator for the 210,000 returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have passed through the program. In addition to providing alumni services, publishing Worldview Magazine and coordinating political advocacy, they organize regional groups around the country which bring together returned volunteers at the local level.
RPCV/W is one of the oldest of these groups. It arose from gatherings in the late 70's and achieved nonprofit status in 1991. Its primary focus is providing social, professional, and community service opportunities in the DC metropolitan region. It also specializes in events of a ceremonial nature, such as wreath layings and the commemoration of Peace Corps milestones. Anyone may join the group directly or through the NPCA. Members elect a Board of Directors each year who run day-to-day operations.