— By Aliya S. King Making communities more livable for people of all ages does not depend on large, expensive projects. “Livable” can mean sidewalk improvements on street corners, or tables and chairs along with painted walls to spruce up an unused alleyway. In Jersey City, the idea of livable can be as simple as $3,000 for a row of hardy red maple and birch trees planted at a public housing project parking area. In the city of Garfield, livable is …

— By Christina Hernandez Sherwood Two years ago, Lorri Smalls left South Carolina for New Jersey to help care for her aunt, Terri Ago, who is in her 70s. The women share an apartment in East Orange and Smalls, 44, accompanies Ago to doctor appointments, cooks meals, mends clothes and assists her aunt with other needs. Smalls said she volunteered for this role out of love, but has spent thousands of dollars along the way. “Caregiving is a compassionate gift that …

— By Christina Hernandez Sherwood When Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey in October 2012 and power was out for a week in West Orange, Robert Rashkes depended on his copper wire landline phone service to get automated updates from the mayor. Rashkes, 58, a retired internal auditor, relayed those updates to neighbors whose fiber optic landline service went out with the electricity. “It showed us the importance of the copper wire,” Rashkes said. Two months later, he joined the inaugural class …

— By Aliya S. King For Lillie Hudson, warning older people about how to spot and avoid fraud is a responsibility she takes very seriously. “It’s one of the most fulfilling things I can do,” said Hudson, 74, of Ewing. “Because there are just so many ways to be tricked into a dangerous situation.” Today’s scammers are exceptionally sophisticated and know how to use emotional triggers that can persuade people to do things they think they’d never do, like reveal their …

— By Aliya S. King When it comes to driving, Belinda Jackson was a late bloomer. “My friends began driving as soon as they could,” Jackson said. “I had so many friends with cars that I had no incentive to learn to drive.” At 23, she decided to get her license, and more than 30 years later, Jackson remained confident in her driving skills. But she decided to take the online version of the AARP Smart Driver course to save money …

— Over fifty years ago, AARP was founded with the motto, “To serve, not to be served.” Today, that motto is still at the heart of AARP’s work in NJ and across the nation. April is national volunteers month, and AARP NJ would like to thank the over 300 hundred AARP NJ volunteers who give their time, passion, and expertise to drive our mission and lead positive social change in their communities every day across the Garden State. One way AARP …

— AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, whose motto “to serve, not to be served” has shaped the AARP community service efforts at the national, state, and local levels. Each year, AARP honors the legacy of Dr. Andrus with the AARP New Jersey Andrus Award for Community Service. The Andrus Award is AARP’s most-prestigious volunteer tribute, which recognizes outstanding individuals who are sharing their experience, talents, and skills to enrich the lives …

— By Christina Hernandez Sherwood Richard Satyavan has been helping people in Middlesex County prepare their tax returns since 2011. Now he’s the coordinator for three of the county’s 12 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide sites. Helping others prepare their taxes, and learning about various areas of the tax code, helps Satyavan with his own returns. “It keeps me challenged and informed,” he said. “It’s a kind of win-win situation to help people to be helped.” A retired software consultant originally from India, …

— Do you want to make a DIFFERENCE? AARP New Jersey has many opportunities for you to do so. Check out just a few of the opportunities we have. See one you’re interested in? Contact AARPNJ@AARP.ORG / 1-866-542-8165 to get started! Community Outreach Volunteer: We are recruiting volunteers to outreach to your local area by representing AARP to promote New Jersey Benefit Programs at exhibitor tables, community fairs, and other events in your area. As a volunteer, you will help educate your …

— Before Erlinda Hair began volunteering at the AARP New Jersey state office two years ago, she worked as an advertising salesperson for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News. As a longtime member of AARP, Erlinda decided to join her local chapter after she made the move to New Jersey, eventually contacting the state office to learn about other volunteer opportunities. Since she has been a volunteer, Erlinda has encouraged numerous other AARP members to become more involved at the …