AARP AARP States Rhode Island Volunteering

2012 AARP Andrus Volunteer Awards

Our 2012 Honorees


Catherine Graziano_182pxr

Hon. Catherine Graziano of Providence, Rhode Island has been chosen as the 2012 recipient of the Ethel Percy Andrus Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Rising through faculty levels to full professorship and Chair of the Department of Nursing at Salve Regina University, Catherine provided leadership in nursing education and practice throughout Rhode Island.

Catherine has been a member and volunteer for the Rhode Island Nurses Association for over 50 years. She has managed many AARP Health Fairs by encouraging her colleagues to participate in blood pressure and diabetes clinics and testing.

She is a member of the Retired Legislators Association and a member of the AARP State Legislative Committee.

Catherine has served and represented AARP on the Department of Elderly Affairs Advisory Council, AARP Executive Council, National AARP Policy Committee, Quality Partners/Electronic records program, RI Commission on Women Steering Committee for Money Follows the Person, and End of Life Task Force. Congratulations Catherine!


Advocacy Leadership Award

Verteal “Verti” Patterson


Verteal is an outstanding advocacy volunteer. She is in touch with her community as well as her representatives. Verti has followed through on all the tasks asked of her as she serves on the AARP-RI Legislative Committee. Her contribution to “You Have Earned A Say” bringing post cards and workbooks to senior centers, community groups and friends was outstanding work. She wears the many hats it takes to engage in opportunities AARP offers volunteers. Verdi also represents AARP on  Mayor Avedisian’s Advisory Commission on Disabilities.

Community Presence Award

Barbara Thornton, John Alexyon


Barbara and John have served the East Providence AARP Chapter with dedication, leadership and skill. They have both reached out to the surrounding communities and volunteered to participate in many activities that serve both seniors and children. Their enthusiasm working on the Back to School Celebration and community events have earned them the 2012 Community Presence Award.

Community Advocacy Award

Bari George


Bari is the Executive Director of Bike Newport  founded the non-profit organization as a collaborate initiative bringing together advocates and stakeholders from across the city and the state to collectively improve and encourage bicycling as a transportation option and as part of a healthy lifestyle.

She has been deeply involved in her community as a volunteer advocate and mentor with many organizations over the years, all with a focus on education, opportunity and quality of life for all. In addition to Bike Newport and AARP, Bari currently volunteers with Chicken and Egg Films (a foundation supporting women documentary filmmakers), the Jane Goodall Institute, Newport’s Energy and Environment Commission, Newport’s Washington Square Roots, Roger Williams Park and Zoo, and the Newport Public Schools.

Community Education Award

Sarah “Sally” Connors


Sally is a member of the Rhode Island Retired Teachers Association Corresponding Secretary, Parliamentarian, and Membrership Chair. and hails from Fitchburg, MA from an educator family. Her parents and siblings were all teachers from School Administrators to teaching chemistry and physics.

Sally has earned many awards during her teaching career for her superior teaching skills and personal generosity. She was elected to the membership, in the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Key Woman Educators. Elected to membership in Phi Delta Kappa, Educational Honor Fraternity. She has received Favorite/Most Effective Teacher recognition for showing care and concern for a student in great need.

Sally is sought out as a motivational speaker for Girls Scouts of America and as a Judge at the 4H sponsored Rocky Hill State Fair and others though out New England.  She created new offerings with credit for the ninth grade elective program and junior high activity program Hospitality and Food Service including opening a restaurant and establishing Future Homemakers of America/Home Economics related occupations.  A summary of activities since she has retired is volunteering as past President in her Parish, Chair of the  Christian Action Committee and baker for McAuley House.

Driver Education Award

Gerald “Gerry” Levesque


Gerry is the Volunteer State Coordinator of the AARP Driver Safety Program. Gerry recruits volunteer educators to teach the program. He trains the trainers so he has enough classes to offer to local communities. Gerry is an aggressive advocate for this program and believes that every senior should brush up on their driving skills. He also mentions that most insurance companies give you a discount after taking this course.

The AARP Chief Executive Officer A. Barry Rand states that the “AARP Driver Safety Program is the first and most recognized comprehensive course offered nationwide that is designed especially for older drivers. It identifies ways that we, as older drivers can compensate for the physical changes that occur as we age.” The Driver Education Program.

Tax Aide Award

 James Carney, State Coordinator


 AARP Foundation Tax Aide, an AARP Foundation program, helps low- to moderate-income taxpayers have more discretionary income for everyday essentials, such as food and housing, by assisting with tax services and ensuring they receive applicable tax credits and deductions.

Tax-Aide is available free to taxpayers with low and moderate income, with special attention to those 60 and older. Through a cadre of trained volunteers, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has helped low- to moderate-income individuals for more than 40 years in every state and the District of Columbia. AARP RI State Office is a tax aide site during the tax season

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in cooperation with the IRS.


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