It’s National Volunteer Week and we couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate. Here in California we work with some of the most dynamic, motivating and impressive individuals in the Golden State.
Our volunteers serve in many roles. They testify at the State Capitol, write letters to the editor on issues of importance to Californians 50+ and their families, and represent AARP California at forums, educational events and Movies for Grownups screenings. We are also able to combat scams and fraud in collaboration with state and community partners through this dedicated network of Californians.
In addition, you may have taken an AARP Driver Safety course or plan to take one this year. This program is administered through AARP Foundation and it is taught and managed entirely by volunteers here in California and across the nation! Did you file your state and federal income taxes through the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program in 2019? Those returns, are filed by hundreds of IRS-trained volunteers for free.
In honor of these dedicated individuals, we will be sharing stories about volunteers across the state throughout the week. First up, we’d like to highlight a conversation with our State Volunteer President, Patricia Pérez:
AARP: Tell us a bit about yourself that you would like others to know.
Pérez: I love the outdoors – hiking, fishing, RVing, or just relaxing with a good book. I’m also a cinephile and enjoy watching musicals and of course, rom coms.
AARP: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
Pérez: Some people may be surprised to know that my favorite music genre is country music. I love everything from Hank Williams and Johnny Cash to Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan.
AARP: How did you become involved with AARP or what made you want to become a volunteer?
Pérez: I was raised by my grandfather and know firsthand the difficulties he faced not speaking English, not planning for retirement, not understanding how to navigate systems, etc. I volunteered with AARP because its work often centers on helping the most vulnerable of our community.
AARP: What has surprised you most about volunteering with AARP?
Pérez: Volunteering has given me the opportunity to understand the organization and the many, many benefits it offers. I am always surprised to hear of the work being done at the local and national level. Another thing that surprises me is how many people are familiar with the organization.
AARP: What is one (or a few!) of your favorite aspects or memories of being a volunteer?
Pérez: I am often inspired by people’s commitment to volunteering. It doesn’t matter their age or abilities, they show up and do all they can to connect with people and help others. I love meeting volunteers and hearing their stories.
AARP: What keeps you motivated in your life and/or in your work as a volunteer?
Pérez: I have received many blessings and opportunities in life -- opportunities many people, including some in my own family, never had. I recognize how fortunate I am and consider it my duty and responsibility to give back to others. All I do is in the name of those who -- for the luck of the draw -- were not able to volunteer.
AARP: What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming an AARP volunteer?
Pérez: If you’re thinking of volunteering just give it a try. There is no long term commitment and you have nothing to lose. You will be trained, equipped with everything you need, have the opportunity to meet other like-minded people, and enjoy incredibly fun events. You will soon realize you’re having the time of your life.
Interested in volunteering with us? Visit http://spr.ly/6181EjO7x