On Wednesday, January 8, 2014, Curt Sylvester of Ft. Wayne participated in the graduation ceremony for the inaugural class of AARP’s Volunteer Leadership Institute or VLI. Unfortunately, due to the inclement weather, Curt did not physically attend the event, but watched via Skype. He was one of only 22 volunteers from all across the country selected for this program. Curt is also the state president of AARP Indiana, the organization’s top volunteer leadership position.
VLI is a rigorous and innovative training opportunity launched by AARP in December 2012 to mobilize highly-skilled and motivated AARP volunteers to the next level of volunteer leadership. The first class met both in person and virtually over a 13-month period to build their leadership strengths in one of three chosen “tracks” – advocacy, community outreach or external representation.
AARP is one of the leading volunteer organizations in the nation, with more than 55,000 active volunteers. Many of them, according to Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond, have the skills and the desire to do even more. “VLI is an investment in our volunteers – providing resources and opportunities for innovation to take volunteers with proven leadership ability to a new level. I know of no other organization that has created this type of volunteer development experience.”
The graduation of the VLI’s first class of participants is a critical step forward for AARP as an organization. “We have an ambitious social change agenda aimed at empowering people 50+ to enjoy the way they live and work today, while reaching their goals for tomorrow” said LeaMond. “AARP is able to meet our goals by leveraging the talents, the skills, and the tenacity of our volunteers.”
“I’m not surprised Curt was chosen to be part of this select group, but I’m very glad for both him and for AARP Indiana that he was,” said AARP Indiana State Direct June Lyle. “Curt is also a part of our volunteer legislative team, which is currently advocating over at the Indiana Statehouse on issues critical to Hoosiers 50 plus and their families.”
The other VLI graduates have made early strides as well, taking on new responsibilities, such as serving on committees and task forces; representing AARP as subject matter experts at events and conferences; and reaching more than 11,000 people through speaking engagements.