When Dr. Charlotte Travis enrolled her eldest child in first grade in 1967, she joined the PTA. For more than 50 years since that moment, Travis has advocated on behalf of children, teachers and retirees.
And her fierce dedication to service hasn’t gone unnoticed.
AARP selected Travis, who lives in San Antonio, as a deserving recipient of the 2020 AARP Texas Andrus Award for Community Service, the Association’s most prestigious and visible honor for a volunteer in Texas.
Driven by her grandmother’s motto, “It’s better to wear out than rust out,” the San Antonian has volunteered in dozens of leadership positions at the local, state and national level.
A highlight of her extensive service career includes establishing and finding funding for a charter school -- Meadowland Charter School -- for residents of a residential treatment facility and local Boerne students in 2008. Around the same time she underwent surgery and treatment for lung cancer.
But her volunteerism didn’t miss a beat.
“I think between serving as president of two boards she only missed one meeting,” said her husband, L K Travis. “She carries her Texas Retired Teachers Association calendar in her purse and all appointments were scheduled around her many meetings.”
Travis currently serves as treasurer for the Texas Retired Educators Deferred Dividend Association, a nonprofit dedicated to helping retired school employees living below poverty level, the San Antonio Council of Presidents, an organization of past and present local leaders, and the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, which honors local leaders and supports women in college.
“I find there are so many interesting things in life and, as one goes along, you acquire new skills that you can share with others coming along behind you,” said Travis.
In 2009, she received the State Board of Education’s “Hero for Children” award and in 2013, she was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame.
“Her unselfish service has helped many to see that service does not always overwhelm one; service often leads to new growth and positive feelings of self-worth,” colleague Stella Carreon wrote in a nomination for the award.
Other 2020 AARP Texas Andrus Award recipients were Rodd Gray of Dallas and George Barnette of Johnson City.