Washington, DC – On February 20, 2015, Vera M. Falu of St. Croix, Virgin Islands participated in the graduation ceremony for the AARP’s Volunteer Leadership Institute or VLI. She was joined by 32 other exceptional volunteers from all across the country. Richard Harwood, founder and president of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, was a guest speaker.
VLI is a rigorous and innovative training opportunity launched by AARP in December 2012 to mobilize highly skilled and motivated AARP volunteers to the next level of volunteer leadership. This third VLI class was designed and scheduled to appeal to the “new breed” of volunteer - tech savvy leaders who may still be in the workforce. Participants met both in person and virtually over a six-month period and used their new skills, techniques and knowledge to work more effectively with their AARP state office or program partners as leaders of volunteer teams and in the community.
“Vera is an extremely passionate AARP volunteer who embodies the essence of what Ethel Percy Andrus meant when she said ‘To Serve, not be Served’. Vera will use every skill she gained during her time with the VLI to help the VI recruit new and more diverse volunteers. She will also help the VI team to ensure that the volunteer experiences will be more meaningful and satisfying while expanding our capacity to address AARP VI issues.VI Volunteer, Vera Falu stated, “I am very honored to be a participant in the Volunteer Leadership Institute (VLI) alongside such committed and courageous volunteers from across the nation. Going forward I will utilize all tools and resources gained to mobilize, agitate and advocate in my community with greater emphasis to be paid to recruiting the younger generation; ages 45 to 50. We are going to build community collaborations through a Speakers’ Bureau. We want to grow relevance, grow impact in a very strategic, deliberative and purposeful manner. I am also very grateful for this opportunity and thankful to my VI State Director, the State office staff and my fellow volunteers for allowing me to Serve.”
AARP is one of the leading volunteer organizations in the nation, with more than 55,000 active volunteers. Earlier VLI graduates have made early strides as well, taking on new responsibilities, such as serving on committees and task forces; representing AARP as subject matter experts at events and conferences; and reaching thousands of people through speaking engagements.