Whether you’re new to the city or have lived in Denver for years, AARP NeighborWalks volunteers agree that there is something new to learn on every walk. And that’s just one of the benefits.
The three-year old program, led by local history enthusiasts and staffed by AARP volunteers, offers tours from May through September featuring dozens of neighborhoods and individual streets and parks throughout the metropolitan area.
“I was a transplant here three years ago,” said volunteer Marie Toole, who relocated from New Hampshire. “Being a volunteer has really helped me learn the neighborhoods and their history, and in finding lots of fun new restaurants.
“My favorite part is when people who live in a house on our tour come out to learn about their home as well,” Toole said.
“You never know what will happen,” said three-year volunteer and nearly 40-year Denver resident Barbara Harkey. “People have come out to meet us and invited us into their homes, or recently to the Denver Press Club.
“I really look forward to volunteering after being inside all winter,” said Harkey, who typically volunteers on at least three tours a month in addition to doing AARP’s weekly Thursday evening walks at the Denver Botanic Gardens. “I really get my steps in.”
Harkey said she meets many new people on the tours because a lot of people take as many tours as they can and she gets to know them throughout the summers.
Volunteers assist in greeting walk participants, helping them with sign-in and handouts, and ensuring that no walkers lose their way along the route.
“AARP members and guests sure like the walks,” said Jeremiah Mora, community outreach director for AARP Colorado. “They fill up to capacity nearly every time.”
NeighborWalks’ numerous tours range from historic districts and neighborhoods, including places like the Highlands, Capitol Hill, Arvada and Golden, as well as individual streets such as 14th, 17th and Larimer streets in downtown Denver. They’ve explored the art of Englewood and the alley art of Bonnie Brae neighborhoods. And they are as diverse as Fairmount Cemetery and Staunton State Park.
“I would really encourage people to get involved (with the walks),” Harkey said. “It’s education and exercise in good company. You learn so much about the city we live in – the history and what’s going on today. No matter how long you live here you don’t know everything.”
To become a NeighborWalks volunteer contact Jeremiah Mora at email@example.com.