Our advocacy efforts are also ramping up, and we’ll be involved with several bills in the state legislature, so stay tuned to learn more. We will also continue to advocate in Washington in defense of Medicare and Social Security, as well as working with Congress to implement the RAISE Family Caregiver Act, a bipartisan (yes, you read that right!) bill that represents an important step in providing support to family caregivers in California and across the nation. If you would like to stay engaged with our advocacy efforts, I urge you to consider becoming an AARP E-Advocate. Find out more here.
As always, we want to hear from YOU about how we can make this e-newsletter better, so please share your feedback HERE. To stay up to date on current and future activities and events, visit the AARP California blog.
Thank you for your dedication in putting into practice AARP California’s mission to help create livable communities for all ages and to empower people to choose how they live as they age.
To celebrate Lunar New Year, AARP will have a float in the annual Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 17. San Francisco’s celebration is the largest Lunar New Year celebration outside of Asia and draws thousands of visitors from around the world.
To learn more about our Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) resources in English, visit aarp.org/aapi.org
AARP Experience Corps is an award-winning, proven program that places people over age 50 in classrooms with students in kindergarten through third grade to help them improve their reading skills.
Experience Corps is currently seeking volunteers in these areas:
If you are interested in helping children in your area, please visit one of the sites above or click here.
To see firsthand the changes our students and volunteers experience, please watch this inspiring video.
If you have not yet signed in, or if you are having challenges with the Volunteer Portal, please contact Antoine Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-585-2608.
Keep an eye on your email for upcoming quarterly trainings and refreshers to make sure you utilize this very important tool for AARP volunteers!
Message from California State President Patricia Pérez
Greetings to all of you, my fellow California volunteers! It’s been a long, hot summer, so I’m looking forward to the cooler days of fall. I’m also looking forward to some great events and activities.
As I write this, National Hispanic Heritage Month is in full swing, and AARP is celebrating with many events in Los Angeles, as well as by sharing the personal stories of inspirational Latinos and Latinas on our Facebook and Twitter pages. I encourage you to check them out!
We are also engaged in an exciting partnership with the LA Galaxy. I hope you’ll join AARP at the StubHub Center on Oct. 15 for the final LA Galaxy home game of the regular season. AARP members and their guests can purchase tickets online at a 10 percent discount.
AARP and the Galaxy are also partnering on a “Fantasy Fútbol” Camp for 10 lucky winners and their nominees. This is your chance to thank someone who has supported your passion for soccer and who shares your love for the game by nominating him or her for this exclusive experience with the LA Galaxy! You can enter online or by visiting AARP’s booth on the StubHub Center concourse before the game. Get all the information here.
This November will mark the first anniversary of the passage of Measure M. Throughout the month, AARP, in collaboration with partners, will hold a series of informative and entertaining events designed to encourage our members and all LA County residents to get involved in shaping the future of transportation in their region. Find out more at www.aarp.org/losangeles.
We’ve had an active session at the State Legislature in Sacramento, with several AARP-supported bills being signed into law and some currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature. These successes are a direct result of the efforts of AARP volunteers who have spent the year visiting legislators, attending hearings, and participating in press events in Sacramento and all across California. Once again, AARP members and volunteers have shown the power of the 50+ voice in our state.
And finally, I cannot close without thanking YOU for helping AARP stop multiple efforts in the U.S. Senate that threatened to radically weaken the ACA and leave millions of Americans without health insurance. As always, AARP members and volunteers made the difference!
All my thanks and best wishes to you.
To stay up to date on current and future activities and events, visit the AARP California blog.
In one of the most dramatic endings to a debate on the Senate floor, Republican Sen. John McCain cast the deciding vote to derail an effort by Senate leaders to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the end, it was McCain of Arizona and Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who joined 46 Democrats and two Independents in opposing a watered-down version of repeal.
Our volunteers led the charge, as AARP joined with other consumer advocates, as well as hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other health care organizations to vigorously oppose proposals that were considered by Congress over the summer.
“We thank Senators Collins, McCain and Murkowski, as well as Senate Democrats and Independents, who heard the voices of all those who called, emailed, rallied and wrote to object to this seriously flawed bill,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “We reiterate our willingness to work with Congress and this administration in a bipartisan way to strengthen our health care system, lower costs and improve care.”
What comes next on the legislative front is still an open question. After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was time to “move on.” But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said some changes to the ACA are necessary to shore up health insurance markets and bring down health care costs.
As this newsletter is “going to press,” yet another attempt to weaken vital parts of the ACA has failed in the Senate. We hope this will be the last we see of this terrible bill, but we will remain vigilant to any emerging threats to the health and well-being of 50+ Americans – and YOU will be the first to know.
Through this partnership we are helping celebrate mentors and using the game of soccer as a vehicle to educate our members and the community at large about the work AARP is doing in the Los Angeles region to empower people to choose how they live as they age. AARP California will be at the Stubhub Center for the remaining home games this season: Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 15. Stop by our booth for a giveaway and to nominate someone for the Fantasy Fútbol Camp. The booth is located inside the stadium across from the LA Galaxy Team Store on the South Plaza.
Stay tuned for information on how you can use your AARP membership to get discounts on LA Galaxy gear and tickets for the 2018 season.
The Secure Choice Board has been working with stakeholders from the consumer, employer and business communities. Two informal workgroups have been formed: Employer Workgroup and Employee/Consumer Workgroup. AARP is a member of the Employee/Consumer Workgroup. This approach is unique to California.
The purpose of these workgroups is to obtain input from the business community, as well as from the consumer community, on how the Secure Choice Program should work — from eligibility to participate in the program to how the enrollment process will work for employees and employers.
Once the workgroups’ recommendations are reviewed, staff will draft regulations that will be submitted to the Secure Choice Board for their review and approval. Public participation events will be scheduled in 2018, and the public will be able to give their input on the design of the program.
The Secure Choice Board has hired AKF Consulting to oversee the bid process for the third party administrator. This will be the firm that manages the Secure Choice investment products. In typical California fashion, the board wants to create a name and logo that will be unique to our state. The board also approved a request for quotes from 15 vendors to come up with a new name for the program, create a logo, and develop other elements that will help with the outreach and education phase.
If you are interested in following the developments around the Secure Choice Program more closely, the monthly board meetings are open to the public, and information about the progress on the design and implementation is available on the State Treasurer’s website.
For nearly 50 years, Tax-Aide has offered free tax filing help to anyone, especially those 50 and older, who can’t afford a tax preparation service. Tax-Aide volunteers make a difference in their communities by assisting many older, lower-income taxpayers who might otherwise miss out on the credits and deductions they’ve earned. Tax-Aide volunteers receive training and support in a welcoming environment.
“We are looking for volunteers throughout the state to serve in a variety of roles,” says Jerry Lopatin, our top volunteer lead for Tax-Aide in the Pacific Region, including California “We certainly need tax preparers, but there are also other roles, like translators, greeters, and technologists. Volunteers come away with a great sense of satisfaction in helping people who need it most.”
Every level of experience is welcome. If you’re interested in making a difference in your community, there’s a role for you.
Good with the fine print and using computers?
Love working with people?
Skilled in all things digital?
Want to help get the word out?
Have a knack for running things?
Speak a second language?
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has grown remarkably since its inaugural team began with just four volunteers in 1968. In California, more than 2,800 volunteers secured nearly $96 million in refunds for the 2016 tax year. In addition, the program now involves nearly 35,000 volunteers nationwide and serves 2.5 million taxpayers annually at some 5,000 sites nationwide. In 2016, taxpayers who used AARP Foundation Tax-Aide received $1.37 billion in income tax refunds and more than $222 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs).
We hope you’ll join us. Apply here or call 1-888-AARP-NOW (1-888-227-7669)
To stay up-to-date on current and future activities and events, visit the AARP California blog.
The study, conducted statewide, interviewed adults ages 36-70 in the workforce in California’s major metro areas. The results from across the state found that issues of affordable housing and retirement savings go hand-in-hand among Gen Xers and Boomers. This feeling of financial insecurity is particularly pronounced with Gen Xers. Many rate their housing expenses as a “major” obstacle to saving for retirement, and more than half of those polled, six in ten (61 percent), have considered leaving the state due to the high cost of living.
Learn more HERE.
“This legislation creates what amounts to an ‘age tax’ by allowing insurers to drastically increase premiums for persons between 50 and 64, who do not yet qualify for Medicare,” says AARP California State Director Nancy McPherson.
“The health care companies call this discriminatory practice ‘age rating,’ but make no mistake: It is double-speak for overcharging millions of older Americans thousands of dollars per year for their health care.”
Due in large part to AARP’s efforts to inform our members and the public about the dire consequences of this legislation, its advocates were initially forced to delay a vote on the bill due to a lack of “yes” votes. While the AHCA did eventually pass the House, its prospects in the Senate are much dimmer, and AARP is engaging in an all-out effort — including social media, email, and radio and television ads — to pressure senators to reject the AHCA. California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris have both expressed their opposition to the bill, and AARP continues to put pressure on others to follow their lead. This is a fight we must win, lest we return to the pre-ACA days of astronomical premiums and denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
To stay informed and engaged in this and other critical advocacy efforts, follow AARP California on Facebook and Twitter.
CicLAvia is the country’s largest open-streets event. AARP has proudly participated in several of these events as a way to address our commitment to safe streets and healthy living for people of all ages. Over the last six years, CicLAvia has temporarily closed streets to motor vehicles across the city and county of Los Angeles to enable people from all backgrounds to come together to bike, walk, skate, dance, and play. Free to the public, the event “unlocks” the streets, giving the community a safe and affordable environment for exercise, play, and social activity. At the same time, it broadens our thinking about how public space is used in our communities.
At the Glendale event, as at previous events, AARP provided free pedicabs at the three hubs throughout the route, and also hosted a Classic Play Zone, where friends, families, and neighbors engaged in intergenerational fun with classic board games. AARP also distributed free AARP Metro Tap Cards (fare card) to those who showed their AARP membership card. Check out some of the highlights.
On Saturday, June 3, AARP staff and volunteers participated in Sacramento Pride 2017, sharing information on AARP resources and advocacy efforts, as well as distributing free items such as fans, which were much appreciated on a hot day! The annual event on Capitol Mall drew thousands of attendees, many of whom visited AARP’s Pride is Ageless booth and were pleased to see AARP supporting the event. Many thanks to volunteers Kimba Livesay, Joy Defenbaugh, Jim Brewer, Charlotte Dorsey, Jim Colgan, Nadine Bollard, and Carol Bollard, all of whom represented AARP with grace and charm! #PrideIsAgeless
The award-winning AARP Smart Driver classroom course curriculum is proven to help drivers make fewer errors. Additionally, upon completion of the course, California drivers can receive a discount on their auto insurance.
Each year, volunteers teach 2,000 courses in California, reaching nearly 23,000 drivers. With your help, they can do even more.
Learn more about AARP Driver Safety and the various volunteer opportunities HERE or by calling 877-846-3299. Connect on Facebook and Twitter.
In the 2017 tax season, Tax-Aide served 2.5 million people nationally, helping them save $300 million in tax preparation fees. The program has also 5,000 sites nationwide and more than 34,000 volunteers.
We are looking for compassionate and friendly individuals to join our volunteer team. We’ll provide the training and support to help you learn new skills, and you’ll get a great feeling from helping someone else.
Although most of our volunteers are tax preparers, there are many roles volunteers can serve, including:
If you would like someone to contact you about being a volunteer, go to www.aarp.org/taxaide or call 888-AARP-NOW (888-227-7669).
In this Issue:
Age Friendly Network of Livable Communities
Welcome to our first issue of your AARP California Volunteers Newsletter. As a volunteer myself, I know how important is to listen to you! And that is why we are presenting you with this first issue of this newsletter electronically. This new format was created in response to the large number of responses we received to our online survey, conducted earlier this year. Among other things, you told us that you wanted to stay informed on what’s happening in the AARP CA state office related to events and programs, as well as about stories regarding local advocacy around our priority issues. You also told us that you prefer to receive this information electronically. Most of you let us know that you would prefer a bi-monthly or quarterly newsletter, so we are starting off with quarterly editions, but may increase the frequency to bimonthly if we receive lots of feedback to that effect.
In this first issue you will find information about how our (and YOUR) advocacy efforts secured the passage of the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Act (SB 1234) as well as the latest news on Caregiving, Fraud, and our work to promote Livable Communities. And speaking of cities, I recently had the honor of shooting our second Los Angeles television spot. The theme of the ad campaign is “We Hear You,” and it is designed to promote the many exciting and engaging events and activities we have organized In the Los Angeles region. Check it out here!
On the advocacy front, Governor Brown signed the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Act (SB 1234), which addresses the coming crisis in retirement savings. SB 1234 will create a simple, affordable, and automatic way to help private sector workers save their own money for retirement. These accounts will be completely portable, meaning they can be taken from job to job, helping millions of Californians without a workplace retirement plan.
Just in time for upcoming presidential election, you’ll learn about AARP’s Take A Stand campaign, which is designed to press the presidential candidates to tell voters exactly how they would update Social Security for the future, and how their plan will affect their families, how they’ll pay for it, and when they’ll get it done.
November is Caregiving month, and so we are sharing information about how you can help us spread the news about the new Hospital & Family Caregiver Law, which will help family caregivers by requiring hospitals to do more to help and inform them.
In the Fraud Watch Network article we recognize volunteers that have contributed greatly in teaching others how to spot and avoid scams. You, too, can become a Fraud Watch Network volunteer and teach others in your community how to protect themselves and their families.
Over the past year, our AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities Program in California has quickly taken off. In November 2014, San Francisco became the first city in the state to join the Network. Since then we have welcomed West Sacramento, San Diego County, West Hollywood, the City and County of Los Angeles, Saratoga and Chula Vista. And with those valued partnerships in place, we’re committed to continuing our work with mayors, city council members and a vast array of community leaders. Learn what each city and community is now doing as part of their efforts to become age friendly and be part of this growing movement right there where you live.
Last but not least, check out our calendar of events taking place in your city. We are offering an array of local events from our TEK program so you learn how to better use your smartphones and tablets and stay connected to friends and family, a series of CAREversations so you can connect with other caregivers, learn from each other’s experiences and obtain information on local resources. For more information on our local events please visit www.aarp.org/california and/or www.aaarp.org/losangeles. Para español, por favor visita: www.aarp.org/quepasala
We have a robust social media presence and would love to see you there too! Please join us on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed and entertained!
We would love to hear from you. Please contact us with your comments and opinions by email: email@example.com
AARP California State President
In California alone, 7.5 million people working in the private sector lack access to a retirement savings plan through their job.
More than ever, people are ill-prepared for retirement because many workers do not have access to a system that allows them to save while earning income.
At AARP, we recognize that for many Americans, a major barrier to saving for the future is the absence of a retirement savings program at their place of employment which is why we have been strong supporters of a Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program.
Secure Choice addresses this problem by creating an automatic-enrollment savings program, which will allow workers to easily set aside a portion of every paycheck, to help them build their savings. The simple fact is that workers who have access to an auto-enrollment plan are 15 times more likely to save for their future.
The program was outlined in a bill introduced in the California State Legislature by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, which is based upon recommendations from California State Treasurer John Chiang and the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board. Governor Brown signed the bill in late September. SB 1234 establishes an automatically-enrolled savings program for private-sector workers whose employers do not offer a retirement plan. Secure Choice will help millions of workers improve their financial security by offering them a low-risk, low-cost and portable savings plan. This innovative approach is being watched nationwide as a template for improving retirement security for millions of Americans.
It is also critical to note that Secure Choice would not have passed without the grassroots efforts of our members, volunteers, who helped to make this important legislation a reality.
Learn more about the Secure Choice program at: http://securechoiceca.aarp.org/
On January 1, 2016, a new, common-sense measure protecting California’s 4.4 million family caregivers became law. The Hospital & Family Caregiver Law helps family caregivers by requiring hospitals to:
We are seeking additional community-based volunteers throughout the state to make connections with local organizations to tell them about the Hospital and Family Caregiver Law. AARP staff will provide you with training, coaching and caregiving informational materials that will enable you to make local presentations in your community. As with any AARP volunteer position, expenses for travel to and from speaking venues will be paid.
One example of the collateral our trained volunteers can distribute at these events is a “wallet card” that can be placed in a caregiver’s wallet as a reminder of the new protections available to California’s family caregivers. A downloadable version can be found here: (Insert website)
This is an excellent opportunity to communicate with local organizations about the work AARP does every day to support family caregivers, and to show how AARP is fighting for a better life for all Californians.
If you wish to be part of the caregiving team, please contact Nina Weiler-Harwell at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 916-556-3027, or Antoine Cook, email@example.com, 626-585-2608.
We all deserve to feel good about where we are in life and to embrace our own aging. Here in California, we see incredible opportunities to change the perceptions of aging by developing our cities and towns into even greater places to live our best lives.
As a matter of fact, the staff and volunteers of AARP are working hard at the local level to help California cities become more age friendly. Over the past year, our AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities Program in California has quickly taken off. To be accepted into the Network, a city or community must commit to undertake a five-year cycle. The first two years are dedicated to assessing the current age-friendliness of a city; identifying gaps in needs and services and creating a three-year age-friendly plan. The remainder of the cycle is spent continually assessing and improving the age-friendly plan which includes involving older residents in a meaningful way.
The Network is an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program, an international effort launched in 2006 to help cities prepare for rapid population aging and the parallel trend of urbanization. Communities in more than 20 nations are participating. While the focus is older residents, the strategies and outcomes promoted in via the program will result in communities that work for people of all ages.
In November 2014, San Francisco became the first city in the state to join the Network. Since then we have welcomed West Sacramento, San Diego County, West Hollywood, the City and County of Los Angeles, Saratoga and Chula Vista. And with those valued partnerships in place, we’re committed to continuing our work with mayors, city council members and a vast array of community leaders.
San Francisco (Nov. 2014) – San Francisco is making great progress. They are in the final stages of editing their 3-year plan prior to submitting to AARP and WHO for approval. The city is currently conducting a round of interviews with subject matter experts to ensure their proposed plan is not only comprehensive but achievable.
West Sacramento (June 2015) – In June, the city convened their first Age-Friendly Steering Committee meeting, which is comprised of city councilmembers, commissioners from various departments and older adult advocates – all residents of the city. These meetings will be held bi-monthly and are open to the public to encourage civic participation from community residents.
West Hollywood (April 2016) – With a 5-year strategic plan already developed, West Hollywood’s public officials have made significant progress in identifying the needs of their older residents. They have also incorporated the needs of two large city populations – their LGBT and Russian-speaking residents. The California office is working with the city to establish milestones and measurable outcomes to prepare the plan for submission to AARP and WHO.
City and County of Los Angeles (May 2016) – Unique in its size and complexity, the city and county of Los Angeles took a different approach when joining the Network. While following the requirement of AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, the Los Angeles area has established a coalition of partners and has dubbed their effort the Purposeful Aging Age-Friendly initiative that unites public and private leadership, resources, ideas and strategies. Partners include AARP, the County of Los Angeles Community and Senior Services (CSS), the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and the UCLA Los Angeles Academic Partnership for Research in Aging.
Saratoga (May 2016) – Remember the little engine that could? That is how we feel about Saratoga. Within two weeks of contacting the state office about joining the network, the city leaders have recruited their advisory committee, sent in their application for membership and will soon roll out a resident survey to identify gaps in needs and services.
San Diego County (June 2016) – The San Diego area has been pursuing livable community projects for decades and are often recognized as one of leading metropolitan areas in engaging in intergenerational work. The county has also done much of their age-friendly leg work by creating a Live Well San Diego plan that addresses many of the needs of older residents. AARP has also partnered with the county’s Aging and Independent Services to conduct numerous listening sessions to engage residents directly and gather feedback to inform their plan.
Chula Vista (July 2016) – Chula Vista is comprised of four distinct communities, each with different aging needs. AARP is currently working with city officials to conduct a resident survey to gauge where residents rank the city in terms of age-friendliness. Their Healthy Chula Vista plan has already identified resident needs and can be used as the basis for their 3-year plan.
California cities face big hurdles – the most prominent are affordable housing and coordinated transportation. AARP is an organization of real possibilities because we believe that no one’s possibilities should be limited by their age, and that experience has value. That’s why the Network of Age-Friendly Communities makes such great sense. It’s meant to help towns and cities become great places by adopting features like walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, as well as key services, all of which helps to ensure that more people participate in a full array of community activities.
Word of mouth is spreading. The state office has received inquiries from several additional cities across the state about joining the program. Engaging members and volunteers in these communities is imperative. For this to be a great state, more work will be done to give residents opportunities to live rewarding, productive and safe lives in age-friendly communities.
“I love serving my community this way,” Ken said. “It is a delight meeting with seniors and hearing their stories. It shows that AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is communicating with the very people hit hardest with the various scams out there.”
Ken is a graduate of San Jose State where he earned a BA in Journalism. He is now retired after 41 years as a civilian sports broadcaster with the American Forces Network. For three years he was an US Army sports broadcaster with American Forces Network in Europe. He was also an umpired for division 1 college baseball for 30 years. Ken just celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary and he and his wife have lived in Diamond Bar for 35 years. The Allans have two adult daughters and four grandchildren.
“Our parents were right. Knowledge is power. A typical example is the IRS phone call scam. People have lost millions because they didn’t know the IRS never conducts this type of business on the phone,” Ken added.
“Becoming a volunteer for The Fraud Watch Network program was a great fit for me and the work I already do with seniors. I also chose to volunteer with this campaign because fraud is a real concerned not only for seniors, but because it is such a universal topic, anyone, from any age and from anywhere can be a victim of that.”
Chequita has shared her knowledge about how to prevent fraud with a series of nonprofit organizations on the South Bay, such as the National City Collaborative and others. She also includes fraud tips on a monthly newsletter she gives out to her clients and volunteers of the Meals-on-Wheels program.
This past July, several of Chequita’s volunteers at the Meals-on-Wheels programs received the FWN’s train the trainers so they too can go out and spread this message to others. “If we can stop one person from being scammed, I think that is an awesome thing. The more information we give to people, the better off they are,” she said.
During the month of September Chequita and her team will participate in a conference for seniors called “Stronger Longer”. “A good weapon to stay stronger longer is education and I will be sharing a 20 minute presentation in this conference on the FWN.”
Chequita told us that the stories she hears from people the most when giving presentations are mainly about being scammed through phone calls. “This happens more often because seniors are more open and trusting of others and many times they are lonely and like talking to people on the phone.” Chequita advices them constantly to be aware of this type of scams and that if something doesn’t feel right just to hug up the phone and never give personal information over the phone.
The reading crisis statewide is evidenced by California’s rank as 49th in the country for 4th grade reading (Studentsfirst.org). There are many factors that contribute to this reading crisis, as children today are faced with significant challenges that affect academic success. Some of these challenges include poverty, difficulty speaking or understanding English, learning disabilities, exposure to trauma, emotional behavior disorders, and lack of access or exposure to books. Experience Corps tutors create mentoring relationships as they build students’ confidence and improve their academic performance.
By helping young students become better readers, AARP Foundation Experience Corps seeks to ensure a lasting legacy of strong futures, supported schools and empowered volunteers. In the 2014-2015 school year, 30,162 students were tutored by over 2,063 Experience Corps volunteers in 1,878 classrooms nationwide. Various studies have measured the outcomes of the Experience Corps program on children in grades kindergarten through third and found that students being tutored by an Experience Corps volunteer had 60% greater gains in key literacy skills in just one year. They also scored higher on reading assessments and had better behavior in school.
Not only is the Experience Corps model a proven intervention with measurable benefits for students, it also provides positive mental and physical health benefits for the volunteers who participate. According to a 2010 study done by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, older adults who engage in volunteer activities report lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression, fewer physical limitations, and higher levels of well-being. A 2007 report published by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that older adults who volunteered with two or more organizations experienced 44% lower mortality rates over a five-year period when compared to older persons who did not volunteer, taking other factors such as age, health, habits and social support into consideration.
Volunteering is especially helpful for older adults undergoing a transition such as retirement, the loss of a loved one, or moving. Civic engagement may be particularly helpful for older Americans dealing with a life stress or for those who are at-risk of being isolated. One study found that bereaved individuals who engaged in volunteering activities to help others experienced a shorter course of depression than those who did not volunteer (Brown, Brown, House, and Smith, 2008). Another study about Experience Corps showed volunteers experience increased brain activity as measured by functional MRIs and the preservation of cognitive function, as compared to a control group (Carlson et al., 2008; Carlson et al., 2009). A more recent study showed that after two years, volunteers from Experience Corps had reduced levels of depression and functional limitations, while the similar aged control group had increases in both categories (Hong and Morrow-Howell, 2010). In summary, volunteering is good for one’s health!
Most Experience Corps programs are run during the traditional school day in collaboration with classroom teachers. However, more and more programs are starting to see the opportunity that exists by providing Experience Corps tutoring in the expanded school day as well. As the host agency in San Diego, the Children’s Initiative is working with the expanded learning programs of local school districts to bring the Experience Corps model into the forefront of the after school arena. This will open up even more ways to maximize the time students are on campus. Some students get dropped off before 7am and are there until after 6pm. Extending Experience Corps tutoring into the after school hours not only utilizes the after school time to provide much needed literacy support, but also gives volunteers another option for their tutoring schedule. Tutors still work in collaboration with each school’s literacy teacher and local program staff so that they are fully supported throughout their volunteer process.
With program sites in many cities across the state, including a few new ones this year, AARP Foundation Experience Corps is leading the way in California! Programs in San Diego, the Bay Area, Marin and Sacramento are recruiting volunteers to join their Experience Corps teams. You have what it takes to change a young person’s life – and maybe even your own. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of four hours a week, attend required trainings, and agree to a background check. Training, ongoing support and all supplies are provided.
Go to http://www.aarp.org/experience-corps/ to find the site nearest you and attend an upcoming information session to learn more about becoming an Experience Corps volunteer.
A word from our State Director, Nancy McPherson: “The AARP California State Office is continuing to build a professional, high-performing, and inspiring team. I am so pleased to introduce the newest members of the AARP California family, who are helping to make this vision a reality:”
David earned a BA in political science with honors from Loyola Marymount University and a MPA from USC. He was a Mansard Fellow and Parliamentary Researcher for the Parliament of the United Kingdom and an Arabic Language Scholar in Tunis with the U.S. Department of State. David currently volunteers with the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy Mentor Program, and is a Governing Board Member of the New Leaders Council Los Angeles.
Luis is a public and government affairs professional with over 10 years of public and private sector experience. He is skilled at working with all levels of government including congressional offices, federal agencies, and state and local officials. He has experience engaging multicultural third-party groups on a variety of public policy issues including media, telecommunications, and technology. He is accomplished at leading volunteer organizations in developing and executing engagement strategies and professional development programs.
Luis serves as the Treasurer of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Board of Directors, and is a board member of Brown Club of Los Angeles. He previously worked at the Ibarra Strategy Group, a leading government relations and public affairs firm in Washington, DC, before moving to Los Angeles to be closer to family. Luis also served in the Office of U.S. Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island) and National Immigration Law Center.
Luis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Brown University and an MBA from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
Joy is proficient in Spanish and has taken opportunities to further strengthen her Spanish through language immersion programs and living for two years in Mexico. While in Mexico, she served Guadalajara’s retired expatriate community as a writer for The Guadalajara Reporter newspaper. Her experience includes reporting on issues faced by the U.S. Latino population including worker rights, fair housing and education. Joy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Arizona State University and a Marketing Strategy Certificate from Cornell University.
Rafi worked for United States Senator Barbara Boxer for many years in various capacities, most recently as Senior Field Representative. Rafi was responsible for Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, serving as the Senator’s representative to local governments, elected officials, businesses, non-profit organizations, and constituents. He advised the Senator and her staff in Washington, D.C., and collaborated with communities on federal legislative needs and priorities. Rafi also served Senator Boxer as statewide liaison for areas of health, public works, and LGBT issues.
More recently, Rafi worked in the health care sector, serving as the first ever Manager of Government Affairs and Community Partnerships for a federally qualified health center. In that role, he was responsible for government affairs, advocacy, and policy efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. Rafi was the primary liaison to government officials, community based organizations, and other key stakeholders. Rafi also served as a community relations consultant for large infrastructure and public works projects, worked in arts philanthropy, and has volunteered on numerous local and federal election campaigns.
Rafi holds a BA in Political Science from California State University, Los Angeles and he is currently pursuing an MS in Public Administration from the same university.
We started in 1968 with just four volunteers at one site preparing 100 tax returns. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide now involves more than 35,000 volunteers and serves 2.6 million taxpayers annually at more than 5,000 sites nationwide. In fact, we’re one of the most effective volunteer programs in America.
But even though we’ve grown a lot, we’re still all about the grassroots. You’ll be helping people in your own community with a much-needed service that’s free, individualized and has no strings attached.
Sign up in your community today. No tax experience needed, only a desire to help. Do apply to be a volunteer today!
Check out our Programs and Events taking place in your community during the last quarter of this year
For events taking place in Los Angeles, please check: www.aarp.org/losangeles
For events taking place in Sacramento, Bay Area and San Diego, please visit: www.aarp.org/california
Para información en español, por favor visita: www.aarp.org/quepasala