April is Volunteer Month, a time to recognize the contributions that Iowans 50+ provide to their communities through volunteer work and a chance for us all to think about how we can help make a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors.
There are limitless opportunities to get involved with AARP in Iowa, and every special skill and talent can be utilized in some way or another. Volunteering is a great way to get out of the house, to make new friends, and to do something great for your community. Volunteering also has been shown to be good for your health, both your physical and mental well being.
Below are several ways you can get involved with AARP right in your community.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide: Perhaps you are gifted with numbers. In that case, volunteering with the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program which provides tax help to taxpayers 50+ free of charge could be the perfect fit. Don’t have a background in accounting or tax law? Don’t worry; volunteers get excellent training developed in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service. You can also volunteer to be a greeter or a translator at one of the many tax-aide locations.
AARP GREAT Advocate: If you enjoy learning about legislation and policy issues at the state and national level, AARP Iowa's Grassroots, Elections and Advocacy Team (GREAT) program is the one for you. GREAT advocates call legislators and their staffs, visit their offices, organize or recruit other volunteers to participate in local events and rallies. GREAT volunteers are the backbone of AARP's state and national advocacy efforts.
AARP E-Activist: Similar to being a Grassroots advocate, this method of volunteering allows you to stay informed about the issues coming before state or national legislators – but e-activists do everything via e-mail or phone. This is a great way to join the fight for elder rights without having to leave the comfort of your home.
Speakers Bureau: If you’re comfortable speaking before the public, you should consider the Speakers Bureau. Speakers get training to give presentations on specific topics such as the AARP Fraud Watch Network, Life Reimagined and Finances@50+ - topics that blend education and advocacy. AARP fights on real issues that matter to you and your family, and our Speaker's Bureau volunteers are a big part of that.
AARP Create the Good: Create the Good has several resources to help you find the perfect fit for you, whether you have 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days to give. Enter your ZIP code on the Create the Good website ( www.createthegood.org) and you will receive a list of opportunities with varying time commitments. It’s a great jumping off point if you want to get involved in your community, but are coming up short on specific ideas.
AARP Driver Safety: There are several positions available, ranging from Regional Director to Driving Instructor. If you’re passionate about keeping drivers alert and promoting safe driving, this program might be perfect for you.
Community Action, Resources and Education Team (CARE): Our CARE teams in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines work to deliver on our social change mission and grow relevance with our members by deepening our connection to those 50+ and their families in the communities where they live. The teams have core leaders who plan and implement community programming, as well as undertake connections tasks such as mailings, phone banking, and special projects.
Livable Communities/Age Friendly Greater Des Moines: This AARP led initiative to make Central Iowa an even greater place for all ages includes active and dedicated group of Des Moines volunteers leading and working on committees involved in infrastructure, social capitol and health as well as our adult leadership academy and our network of business evaluators.