Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy '54 yesterday proposed a nationwide volunteer "Progress Corps," modeled after the Peace Corps and designed to help solve domestic problems within the country.
According to a top Kennedy side, the Democratic nominee for senator became seriously interested in the problems of underprivileged areas and volunteer help through his work for Phillips Brooks House as an undergraduate. During this time, he taught groups of youngsters at the South End Settlement House in Boston.
In his announcement, Kennedy pointed out that "There is a great deal of community volunteer effort now in progress--but it is scattered--it is sporadic, there is a tremendous variance in planning and efficiency.
"All that is needed is to provide centralized research and planning and organization. This is what the federal government can do through the vehicle of an American Progress Corps."
The Kennedy program is designed to focus on juvenile delinquency and hospital personnel problems, but there will be a strong emphasis on general poverty, ignorance, and illiteracy.
Kennedy has asked officers of PBH to prepare a report on suggested ways to run such a program and on which areas could best be served by volunteers.
PBH has announced that it will cooperate with the program and prepare the report, since the idea of an internal-type peace corps has long been of interest.
When questioned about the possibility of government control of volunteer programs, a PBH spokesman pointed out that "Our experience has shown that a supervised volunteer who is given autonomy but who always has someone from whom he can ask advice is infinitely more effective than a volunteer on his own."