As I reflect on the accomplishments of AARP DC’s dynamic team of volunteers and staff in 2017, I am proud of our ability to make an impact in the lives of the 50+ residents in the midst of re-establishing a larger identity with the relocation of the AARP District of Columbia State Office to Southeast.
This year, we…
Amplified the voices of older adults
- Volunteers and staff listened to the feedback and concerns of more than 200 DC residents at community consultations held in every Ward. The information was collected, compiled and submitted to Age-Friendly DC to inform the 2017-2022 Age Friendly DC strategic plan which will make the District a greater city for people of all ages and abilities to live, work and play.
- Much of the year was marked by our successful advocacy efforts to beat bad health care reform proposals on Capitol Hill. Of significant importance in the campaign was bringing to light the stories of how the legislation would impact older adults. We created powerful testimonial videos that were viewed thousands of times over, and shared by many on AARP DC’s Facebook page.
Advocated on behalf of AARP members and all older adults
- From the federal health reform victories to local advocacy efforts, AARP DC volunteers showed up in red AARP shirts in the halls of Capitol Hill and the Wilson Building to be seen and heard on important issues.
- Locally, we made strides in our advocacy to strengthen consumer protections through an updated Uniform Power of Attorney Act and preserve the requirements included in the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act through the development of regulations to support family caregivers - both efforts that we will continue in 2018.
Raised awareness through free programs in the community
- Trained volunteers and staff delivered programs to hundreds of DC residents on topics ranging from family caregiving to fraud awareness and prevention, and workshops that built technology skills, and sharpened knowledge for how to search for a job on-line.
Empowered and engaged volunteers
- Within the District, there are a number of volunteer roles that support AARP’s mission. As a volunteer myself, I am grateful for the contributions of those who served in 2017 with: AARP Foundation Tax Aide, AARP Driver Safety, AARP Foundation Experience Corps, the local AARP Chapters, and AARP DC by assisting in community events and leading community presentations as a guest speaker.
- AARP DC introduced a new volunteer structure this year which includes the designation of a volunteer Ward Liaison in every Ward. These volunteers will advise AARP DC staff on opportunities for local activities in their neighborhood, help us build relationships with DC City Councilmembers and assist with the recruitment of new volunteers as well as advocacy related to issues impacting older adults and their families in DC. We will be sharing more information on how you can connect with these volunteers in 2018.
What's in store for next year?
AARP DC strives every day to live up to our mission ensuring that adults 50 and over can thrive in the District where they live, work, and play. In 2018, AARP DC will work with volunteers, members and community allies to advocate for:
- Implementation of a second strategic plan for an Age-Friendly DC, increasing public education and engagement from 2018-2020, and being a partner and leader to move the age-friendly initiative forward;
- A District budget that is Age Friendly, with emphasis placed on budget commitments that help lower income and underserved, the isolated, the marginalized, the vulnerable, and language minorities in every Ward;
- Caregiver-friendly policies and publicly-funded programs benefiting agencies and organizations which provide services to caregivers; and
- Property related tax proposals (exemptions or deferral programs) that protect the home as an asset and make it easier for people to easily age in place.
2018 being a local election year, you can anticipate AARP will be leading a city-wide voter engagement effort. And, we will continue to deliver programs on caregiving, fraud prevention, work and jobs for adults over 50 and technology.
I encourage you to join me by getting involved with AARP DC as a volunteer. To get the process started, simply complete and submit a Volunteer Interest Form online: www.aarp.org/iwant2volunteer