AARP Maryland is honoring three exceptional Marylanders aged 50-plus for their volunteerism and commitment to service. The awards were formally presented October 8 before nearly 80 guests at a virtual ceremony.
“This year’s honorees set the highest example of what can be achieved when all work together for positive social change,” says AARP Maryland State Director Hank Greenberg. “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors and the programs they serve.”
J. Joseph Curran Lifetime Achievement Award
AARP Maryland presented its 2020 J. Joseph Curran Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding community service to Howard County advocate and civic champion, Ted Meyerson.
Named in honor of esteemed statesman J. Joseph Curran Jr., former state representative, lieutenant governor, and longtime attorney general, the Curran award recognizes exceptional individuals who have exhibited a lifetime of exemplary commitment to volunteerism and civic involvement. Meyerson is only the third person to receive this honor from AARP Maryland.
Meyerson is one of AARP Maryland’s most active volunteers, as a public speaker, AARP Fraud Watch Network leader, advocate for advance care planning, a technology trainer and legislative advocate.
The reason AARP Maryland bestows this award is because of people like Ted who spend a lifetime in service to others. We are always so grateful to have someone who identifies a need and then jumps right in to help.
Meyerson has devoted much of his volunteer service to bettering the lives of older adults, as a member and vice chair of the Howard County Commission on Aging, chair of the Howard County Senior Property Tax Task Force, chair of the Howard County Commission on Aging Advocacy Committee, the state Empowerment Zones for Seniors Commission. He served on the state Committee on Oversight of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities, was a member of the state Continuing Care Advisory Committee, Howard County Affordable Housing Commission, state Community Options Advisory Committee, Long-Term Care Payment Advisory Committee, and the Howard County Jewish Community Relations Council.
A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Meyerson operated his own printing company and was an associate real estate broker. His past organizational affiliations include president of the Printing Industry Association, treasurer of the B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville and member of their board of governors. Meyerson is the past president of the United Seniors of Maryland, founder and president of the Better Aging Foundation of Maryland, a former Howard Community College adjunct professor, a retired United States Coast Guard Auxiliary member, and a past chair of the State Advisory Council on Quality Care at the End of Life.
2020 Andrus Award for Community Service
Dr. Shawn Ashworth of Anne Arundel County is the winner of the 2020 AARP Maryland Andrus Award for Community Service, named for the organization’s founder Ethel Percy Andrus.
Ashworth established the nonprofit, Food 4 Thought Community Outreach Services, Inc. (F4COS), with a mission of providing veterans, the homeless and struggling families with nutritional meals, housing referrals, counseling and job skill development. Through the nonprofit, she and a team of volunteers provided weekly meals to over 100 people who call Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) their home.
Dr. Ashworth has dedicated herself nearly full time to serving others. She has been known to dig deep below the surface of an individual to discover their untapped skills and talents. AARP selected Dr. Ashworth for her remarkable service which has greatly benefited the community, supported AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Ashworth’s efforts. Since March 13, 2020, the day the state of Maryland shut down due to COVID-19, she has traveled daily to the Maryland Food Bank and other stores to pick up food and distribute to those in need.
As a volunteer with the Asbury Church Assistance Network, Inc. (ACAN) Food Pantry, Ashworth feeds over 300 families daily, donates toiletries, socks, hand sanitizers, and snacks and for the Pasadena and West County police stations, medical personnel at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center, and seniors at Pinewood East Senior Center.
A mother, grandmother and full-time employee of the Anne Arundel County Public School System Ashworth provides support to a local domestic violence shelter in Washington D.C., distributes food baskets during the holidays and conducts a back-to-school book bag event through the local Boys and Girls Club.
AARP Maryland State President’s Award
AARP Maryland presented its inaugural State President’s Award to Leonor Blum of Baltimore.
We are honored to present Leonor Blum our first-ever State President’s Award. AARP’s mission is to ‘empower people to choose how they live as they age,’ and Leonor is doing just that. Her intergenerational work bringing retired educators together with Latina girls in Baltimore City is quite extraordinary.
After three decades in academia as a history and political science professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University, Blum founded ¡Adelante Latina!, a nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income Latina girls to overcome the socio-cultural, economic and academic barriers they face in pursuing a college career. The program strives to improve high school performance through interaction with expert teachers and caring tutors, with an emphasis on reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing skills and SAT preparation.
The goal of Adelante Latina is for all participants to be accepted into either a 2-year community college or a 4-year college or university with adequate financial support. Today, 90% of ¡Adelante Latina! graduates go on to enroll in college.
With 870,000 members in Maryland, AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media