We are delighted to announce that Onie Johns is the state winner of the AARP Tennessee Andrus Award.  This is AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award, given to recognize outstanding people who positively impact the lives of people in their community. Onie Johns grew up on a farm in rural Mississippi during the 50’s and 60’s, an experience that laid the foundations for her strong connection to community. In 2006 she founded The Caritas Village.  The Village is a community center, coffee shop and cultural art center located in the heart of Binghamton in the Memphis area.  The mission of the Village is to break down the walls of hostility between races, build bridges of love and trust between the rich and those made poor and provide a positive alternative to the street corners for the neighborhood children.

A $2,500 donation will be made to The Caritas Village during an award ceremony on October 23, 2013.

“This award acts as a symbol to the public that we can all work together for positive social change,” says Cleo Owens, AARP State President.  “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”

Hazel Moore and Velma Lois Jones in the Memphis area are two additional nominees that were selected as honorable mentions and will be gifted $500 to the charity of their choice.

AARP salutes all 23 Andrus Award nominees from across the state.  Their record of achievement, service and commitment provides an extraordinary example of the difference that volunteerism can make in the lives of individuals and in the well-being and vitality of a community.

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