Our wonderful AARP DC team continues to fortify AARP’s mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age. The profound achievements made by our outstanding volunteers and staff in the District of Columbia are why I am proud to be a part of AARP.
All that has been accomplished in 2019 would not have been possible without those who have given their unwavering effort and time to our community. This year…
We Advocated and Made an Impact
- AARP DC volunteers and staff fought hard for programs that allow older District residents to maximize their independence and remain in their homes and communities. More than 400 individuals contacted their Councilmembers to support DC seniors in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. We were successful in achieving senior-friendly budget wins including: increased support for senior homeowners/renters through a tax credit expansion for seniors with an income of $75,000 or less, and increased funding for caregiver supports and those who are eligible for caregiver subsidies.
- AARP has a long history of fighting to ensure that utility companies receive only what is fair and reasonable – and not a dollar more. In testimony before the Public Service Commission, we contested Pepco’s proposed rate increase and multi-year rate plans. We will continue to monitor this issue in 2020.
- AARP launched its national “Stop Rx Greed” campaign, aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drug prices. We will keep pushing for AARP-supported legislation on Capitol Hill, including H.R. 3 the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 introduced in the House, and S.102 the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act of 2019.
We Engaged with the Community
- AARP DC stepped right up when Mayor Bowser’s Administration asked the State Director to assist with its 2020 Census outreach to District seniors. AARP staff coordinate the work of the Senior Subcommittee of Mayor Bowser’s Complete Count Commission focusing on outreach and communications to ensure all District residents age 60+ are included in the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau count. We have shared Census job opportunities with members and older adults in the District.
- AARP’s 2019 AARP Community Challenge Grant program, funded two grantees in the District of Columbia: Community Foodworks and Safe Routes Partnership. Their projects increased access to healthy food, which furthers the District's goal to be a livable community for residents of all ages.
- AARP DC offered unique, fun, local member offerings like discount tickets to the Washington Wizards games, where the Wizdom Dance Team (a dance team created of adults over the age of 50) performs, and free AARP Movies for Grownups screenings throughout the city and at the National Building Museum’s Lawn installation.
- AARP DC was on-the-ground at a number of events this year, like the Capital Pride Festival, where hundreds of participants drew what they thought the future of the LGBTQ movement would look like. And, the VIDA Health Fair, providing the Hispanic/Latino community with information and resources.
- AARP believes that people of all ages should stay active and live their best lives. At the 2019 Citi Open Tennis Tournament, AARP DC hosted a free tennis class, for 50 participants over the age of 50, and provided attendees with a ticket to a match. Throughout the day, everyone from our volunteers to the Wizards Wizdom dancers took part in the fun-filled events.
- Our team supported efforts of the African American Walk for Men’s Health, to raise awareness of the importance of living a healthy life and knowing ones numbers. Dozens of Black men walked or ran the 5K and received free health screenings. Stay tuned as this was AARP DC’s first event to socialize our forthcoming work to disrupt health disparities in 2020.
We Prepared and Empowered Volunteers
- To all of you who have volunteered with AARP DC, THANK YOU! Your contributions are invaluable in helping AARP DC deliver Real Possibilities to our members, older adults and their families in the District. And to those who have not yet volunteered with AARP DC, we welcome you to join us in service! Complete a volunteer interest form here.
- The AARP DC Volunteer Speakers Bureau delivered 16 free informational presentations reaching over 245 attendees at locations across the District. Presentation topics included: 10 Fraud Watch Network, 3 Prepare to Care (including 2 conducted entirely in Spanish) and 3 Job Search in the Digital Age. Request a presentation here.
- AARP DC Ward Liaisons assisted with letter writing, attending hearings, giving testimony, participation in rallies, and various other activities in support of our advocacy priorities to serve the 50+ community on issues that matter most to them.
- AARP DC’s Executive Council (EC) had an outstanding year! We diversified our EC with new members. Our EC participated in Advocacy Day at the John A. Wilson building and, with a couple of hundred seniors, challenged the District Council on issues affecting seniors. We also spoke to AARP Chapters and other organizations like the Links, Inc. about who AARP DC is and what we do. A highlight of our year was attending “A Right to the City” Smithsonian exhibit, which describes five decades of gentrification in six DC neighborhoods and its impact on DC’s current state and future development. This exhibit guides the development of our DC State Plan and its implementation and impact on DC’s 50+.
- Volunteers fully led various community engagements this year, include monthly AARP Movies for Grownups screenings, AARP DC tabling at community events and an AARP DC On Tap event attended by more than 40 Lesbians who were able to discuss issues that are important to them and their community.
In closing, I have seen a banner year of service to the 50+ in 2019, and we look forward to 2020 where we will achieve greater heights in our work with those 50+. We will not be limited or held back, but with new energy, creativity, critical thinking and compassion, we shall make the quality of life better those 50+ via advocacy, education and service.
Kendrick E. Curry
AARP DC State President