From left to right: Lupe Wissel, AARP Idaho state director; Micki Kawakami, Andrus Award Recipient; Grant Jones, Director Metro Meals on Wheels

AARP Idaho announced today that Micki Kawakami of Nampa was selected to receive the 2018 Andrus Award for Community Service, the Association’s most prestigious volunteer award. Each year AARP honors the legacy of AARP founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, with the AARP Andrus Award for Community Service. This award is a symbol of the power of individuals to make a difference in the lives of others.

At the insistence of Ms. Kawakami, AARP Idaho will forgo the annual award ceremony and instead donate $1,000 in her name to Metro Community Services in support of the Adopt a Senior meal delivery program in Caldwell.

Former Andrus award winner, and current AARP volunteer, Peggy Munson nominated Kawakami for the award. “She has dedicated her life to helping others and genuinely making a difference in the communities that are the recipients of her volunteer work. She is dedicated to enriching the lives of others,” said Munson.

Kawakami’s community involvement and volunteerism extends well past her involvement with AARP. She has given her time and expertise to several organizations including Idaho Senior Games, Special Olympics, Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, Ada and Canyon County Democrats and the Canyon County Festival of Trees.

Kawakami also passionately dedicates countless hours of her time to multicultural and human rights organizations including the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) where she was the past chapter president, national convention delegate  and first female governor of the Intermountain District Council of the Boise valley JACL. She continues to volunteer with the Wassmuth Human Rights Center, Densho Garden in Caldwell, Friends of Minidoka Civil Liberties Symposium and the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario.

Matthew Stringer, executive director of the Four Rivers Cultural Center also nominated Kawakami for the award. “Micki is the kind of community member that is always contributing to a cause or an issue. She is willing to role her sleeves up and lift a hand to help so many. She is a true asset to the communities in the Treasure Valley,” said Stringer.

“Micki exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers can make in their communities,” said AARP state director Lupe Wissel. “Her enthusiasm, energy and willingness to lead by example make her a particularly worthy recipient of this award.”

AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to the life and vision of founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. From the beginning, her motto, “To serve, not to be served,” has shaped AARP’s community service efforts at the national, state and local levels. Andrus Award winners are nominated by their peers and the award recipient is chosen by a special committee of AARP Idaho volunteer leaders.