— By Tom Korosec On a chilly day late last October, Bob Bonilla and other AARP volunteers grabbed brooms and paintbrushes and went to work making their Fort Worth neighborhood more walkable and age-friendly. They painted curbs and crosswalks and created a “pop-up” traffic circle to slow vehicles and make their gentrifying neighborhood safer for pedestrians. “Earlier we did a walking tour to identify some of the problems,” said Bonilla, 67, a retired schoolteacher. They noted that residents of a nearby …

— In honor of National Volunteer Month, we at AARP Texas would like to honor those who have made a difference in their communities this year. Though we cannot spotlight all the volunteers who give generously of their time to AARP because they are so numerous, here are two examples of volunteers that have bettered Texas through their work. The Impact of Inclusion President of her AARP chapter and a volunteer leader focusing on Hispanic and Latino outreach in East Austin, Enedelia …

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— “The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.” –Ethel Percy Andrus, founder of AARP During National Volunteer Week, it is important to reflect on what it means to be of service to something larger than ourselves. Founded in 1974, National Volunteer Week was established to raise awareness around service opportunities and non-profit organizations across the nation. Dedicating a week out of the year to volunteer helps remind …

— If you haven’t filed your income-tax return yet and need some help, don’t worry – free, qualified assistance is available near you. The AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide Program offers no-cost services to low- and moderate-income Texans at hundreds of locations for help in preparing and filing federal tax returns. Bart Hatfield, an AARP volunteer who oversees the Tax-Aide program as its western regional coordinator in Texas, said people don’t need to be AARP members to participate, so the program sees a …

— By Enrique Rangel Haven’t filed your tax return yet? Well, there’s free help nearby from thousands of trained AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers. “We do mainly low-income people and the elderly,” said Bart Hatfield, 73, a retired chemical engineer who lives in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land. Volunteers emphasize that the service is available to all but does not include preparation of business or complex returns. A Tax-Aide volunteer since he retired in 2001, Hatfield oversees the western region of …

— By Thomas Korosec After Hurricane Ike struck Houston in September 2008, volunteers with the nonprofit Avenue CDC helped fix Angela Guerrero’s grandmother’s house. Now Guerrero is in a position to repay the favor by helping restore houses damaged by Hurricane Harvey in August. Guerrero, 31, is part of a small army of volunteers in nonprofit organizations who are helping to restore their communities in Harvey’s wake. Many are being helped by funds from AARP Foundation, which has invested $3.2 million …

— Former Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Jon Weizenbaum joins the AARP Texas Executive Council as its newest member. Since 1998, Weizenbaum has worked with AARP Texas on a number of policies and advocacy issues. Now, he will lend his leadership experience and background of supporting older Texans to a two-year term on the council. “AARP has one of the strongest voices in Texas for the rights of consumers and seniors,” Weizenbaum said. Executive Council members serve as …

— By Enrique Rangel When retired Austin Municipal Judge John R. Vasquez hung up his robe two years ago, he didn’t see himself living a life of leisure. “I didn’t want to be in my house all the time,” Vasquez, 62, said recently. “I wanted to give back to my community.” Two months after leaving the courthouse and moving to San Antonio, where he was born and raised, he found his calling as an AARP volunteer. “I’ve gotten involved more and …

— By Ellen Chang Mari Okabayashi, of Houston, has volunteered with AARP at state legislative sessions, congressional and city council hearings, and community events. She has advocated for defending Social Security, making Houston more walkable, limiting payday lending fees, helping older people avoid becoming victims of fraud, and opposing utility rate hikes. She also serves as a Texas Silver-Haired Legislator for Harris County. “Volunteering for AARP allows me to meet so many of our seniors,” said Okabayashi, 67. “I get to …

— It’s that time of year, folks! It’s time to celebrate and recognize our outstanding volunteers during National Volunteer Week. In Texas, we’d like to highlight several outstanding folks who have gone above and beyond for their communities. Without the help of our committed volunteers, our Texas communities would not be the same. From CAREversation family caregiver support groups to Fraud Watch Network shredding events, from volunteering with AARP Tax-Aide to help neighbors file their returns to urging elected officials to …