Chapter of the year 1Americans 50 plus looking for a model of how to serve their communities need look no further than Opa-Locka, Florida.

That’s the home town of AARP chapter 4005, winner of the AARP Florida Chapter of the Year Award for 2012.

AARP State President Doug Heinlen presented the award at Mount Zion AME church in Miami Gardens, FL along with a plaque and a table cover. Chosen from nearly two dozen chapters on the basis of its service to the community, the chapter won the award on the basis of its advocacy on behalf of AARP members and its activism on legislative issues.

Chapter 4005 is “a model of how a group of Floridians 50+ can make a difference in their community,” Heinlen said. “When AARP’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, said that we should seek to serve, not to be served, she was talking about the contributions of people like Chapter 4005.”  Connie Dupree is the president of chapter 4005.

“The members of Chapter 4005 certainly deserve the distinction” Heinlen said. During the AARP Day of Service the chapter helped beautify a local park. They planted foliage, painted benches and served lunch to other volunteers. Throughout the year they support the nonpartisan goals and strategies of AARP, such as the Get Out The Vote campaigns and writing letters to Congress on issues of concern. They also run food drives and clothing drives to support underprivileged members of their community and Haiti.

Annually they give a scholarship to a student in the community to support their ongoing education. They purchase books for and read to the children in the local Pink and Blue nursery. At the start of the school year, they purchase school supplies for underprivileged children. Finally, the chapter reserves a booth at several health fairs where they give out information on how to prevent falls and fires, remain physical activity, monitor medication, plan for long-term care, how to prevent identity theft and avoid other health problems

“The Opa-Locka Chapter is clearly serving at its maximum capacity and is very deserving of the honor of Chapter of the Year”, Heinlen said. “They set a great example for other AARP chapters around the state and exemplify the goals and aims of AARP on a national scale.”

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