— Volunteers have long been a critical part of our country’s history. The long and proud history of volunteering extends all the way back to the first colonies, when Americans provided for others in times of strife. Benjamin Franklin, for example, began the first volunteer firefighting company in 1736. In wartime, in times of tragedy and in times of need, Americans have banded together to help each other. The more than 62 million volunteers today have deep roots for their service. …

— Seeking to reinvent herself after retiring, Chandra Marshall-Henson visited AARP conventions and events for inspiration. After attending a Zumba class taught by an instructor in her 80s, she found that inspiration. She gained the confidence to share her love for dancing. Not long after attending that Zumba class, Marshall-Henson became a certified Zumba instructor. She finds bringing joy to others through dance the most rewarding aspect of teaching. The class guarantees a great workout, but participants usually leave with more than …

— Though she had a long and successful career, Eva Bonilla was 66 years old when she discovered that she was born to be a tour guide. After retiring, Bonilla volunteered with the Fort Worth City International Board. She served as an ambassador to many international visitors that came to Fort Worth, and fell in love with giving tours. It was not until Bonilla visited an AARP workshop that she felt empowered to pursue her dream of being a tour guide. …

— 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 …

4 States

— “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 …