Volunteers Make Big Impact in Aberdeen

Posted on 02/29/24 by The AARP Bulletin

When Brenda Lanphere and Beth Smith met five years ago, the two Aberdeen residents were already active AARP volunteers. But the women knew they could achieve even more together and quickly got to work.

Brenda Lanphere.JPG
Brenda Lanphere

“I called in a couple of friends. Beth called in a couple of friends,” recalls Lanphere, 72, a retired human resources representative. “That’s how our team got started.”

Today, the group of AARP South Dakota volunteers has 18 members who meet monthly to plan events around the city of roughly 28,000, which is located about 200 miles northwest of Sioux Falls.

In sparsely populated South Dakota, volunteers like Lanphere and Smith are vital to extending AARP’s work.

“We want our volunteer teams to feel empowered and plan events that they know will be impactful in their communities,” says Lindsey Holmquest, AARP South Dakota director of community outreach.

Beth Smith.JPG
Beth Smith

The Aberdeen group has held shredding events to help people safely dispose of sensitive documents. They’ve handed out roses to cancer patients and given bags of candy to children. They’ve hosted movie nights, and they offer free coffee once a month at a local shop where people can casually chat with each other and also learn about AARP offerings.

“We’re helping people live their lives to the fullest, so that they’re not sitting at home isolated,” Lanphere says.

AARP South Dakota, which is headquartered in Sioux Falls, provides volunteers around the state with training, funding and other support.

“No matter where you live, there are opportunities to be involved, so we’d love to talk to you,” Holmquest says.

Email sdaarp@aarp.org or call 866-542-8172.

—David Lewellen

This story is provided by AARP South Dakota. Visit the AARP South Dakota page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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