Recognizing The Value of Volunteers

Recognizing The Value of Volunteers


When you work for an organization powered by more than 58,000 exceptional volunteers, National Volunteer Week is more than a footnote on the calendar. It’s an important reminder to thank and honor the unpaid heroes who make a difference in our communities through their time, experience and dedication.

I see the incredible value of volunteers’ commitment every day. There is honestly no way that AARP could meet our goals for improving the lives of older Americans without their hard work.  Across the country, AARP volunteers are making a contribution through actions large and small. Many are serving in our efforts to support family caregivers, help individuals save for retirement, and fight against proposals that raise healthcare costs and cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Others help friends and neighbors file taxes, protect against fraud, improve their driving skills and brush up their technology know-how. Still more are working on ways to making their communities great places to live for people of all ages.  The list goes on and on.

Of course, our volunteers are far from alone. More than 62 million Americans devote their time (an estimated 7.9 billion hours a year!) – and passion – to service.

Why do they do it? According to an AARP survey of people 45+, the top reasons are all about giving back and making a difference for their communities and people in need. While being acknowledged for their efforts didn’t even crack the list, genuine appreciation from those we love and value goes a long way.

So please, take a little time out of your week to recognize the volunteers in your life with a cup of coffee, a hug or simply your heartfelt thanks. It requires so little and means so much!

And, THANK YOU to all of our wonderful AARP volunteers! (You should know that my relationship with AARP volunteers goes back a long way. I was actually introduced to the organizations by volunteers . . . . my parents and other family members who served through an AARP Chapter in New Jersey.) You truly are the secret to our success.


Nancy LeaMond, chief advocacy and engagement officer and executive vice president of AARP for community, state and national affairs, leads government relations, advocacy and public education for AARP’s social change agenda. LeaMond also has responsibility for AARP’s state operation, which includes offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

You can follow her on Twitter @NancyLeaMond.



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AARP Volunteers Are Fighting For You

AARP Volunteers Are Fighting For You


During National Volunteer Week I’d like to stop and say thank you. Thank you to the thousands of AARP volunteers who are fighting for families as part of our multi-state advocacy campaigns across every state, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  By giving your time and energy to advocate for the 50-plus and their families, you’ve helped to:


Here are snapshots of just a few of our incredible volunteers.

Pat from Connecticut
Pat helped AARP Connecticut champion the CARE Act, a new law that supports family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. Recently she had a caregiver thank her for her work. Pat shared,

“She (the caregiver) said, would you go back to AARP and all the volunteers there and tell them thank you. Thank you for standing up for the seniors. Thank you for standing up for the people of Connecticut.” Pat continues, “And then I realized that’s why I volunteer.”

Pat from CT

Earl G. from Ohio

“I believe that AARP performs an essential service for members and all Ohioans to make sure they receive a fair shake on the issues we support and I am happy to volunteer my time for this important work.”

Earl represents AARP and the interests of Ohioans 50-plus in his service on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Telecommunication Study. He’s working to make sure Ohioans only pay what’s fair and justified for reliable utility service.

Monica S. from Florida

“The needs of caregivers vastly outweigh the resources we have today.   We are seeing the tip of the iceberg of the caregiver crisis.   I am a proud AARP volunteer addressing this issue.”

When it comes to supporting family caregivers, Monica’s doing it all. She advocates for more support for family caregivers and their loved ones at the state capitol, organizes conferences, recruits for events, is helping to build a caregiving coalition and much more.

Julia from Texas
Julia is fighting for more support for family caregivers—a subject near and dear to her heart being a caregiver herself.

“I am so glad that AARP for this legislative session is trying to work in this area especially to give caregivers some measure of support.”

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Julia the caregiver

"When you're married and your significant other gets ill, you truly experience what it means to be a caregiver," says Julia of San Antonio.

Posted by AARP Texas on Monday, April 10, 2017

 

Mike and Marilyn Worner with Sen. Nichol Poolman

Michael and Marilyn W. from North Dakota

During the 2017 legislative session Michael and Marilyn have enthusiastically worked to support family caregivers.  One bill they helped pass was recently signed into law and will help family caregivers get some of the relief and resources they need.

Even more impressive, Mike and Marilyn live 200 miles away from the state capitol. Yet, they have made multiple trips to Bismarck to help fight for family caregivers.

 

 

Thank you to Mike, Marilyn, Earl, Monica, Julia, Pat and ALL our amazing AARP volunteers who devote so much of their time and energy to help others.

Would you like to volunteer with AARP? Visit aarp.org/getinvolved.

 


Elaine Ryan is the vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.



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