Why I Love Volunteering with AARP

Posted on 04/22/21 by Valerie Disalvio

AARP Ohio volunteer Chris Hughes

I dreamed of an idyllic bicoastal lifestyle after retirement. Retirement was new and exciting in the beginning. In less than five hours, I was on the East Coast or West Coast. I kept busy during most of my waking hours. The health spa was my main hangout as I have made friends my own age (seniors). Over the years, as I spent the excellent months in Ohio, I began to feel periods of annoying boredom shadowing my world. I needed to spice up my life for the sake of my mental health.

I received a solicitation postcard from AARP about volunteering opportunities. I attended the AARP recruiting event. Millie, the first person I met, has become the Big Sister who lovingly lifts me when I’m faltering with her gentle spirit. Then I met Kelley, a smiling, humble, respectful, self-controlled walking AARP encyclopedia. I was accepted as an AARP volunteer. AARP Ohio trained me to facilitate the Fraud Watch presentation. I am a fraud victim. It happened in a place where my guard was down due to my childhood memories of a sanctuary. Facilitating the Fraud Watch presentations is very therapeutic for me.

I’ve met so many unforgettable people that have left their indelible mark on me. Denise always has a smile, a helping hand and is very caring. Mary Rose & Bill faithfully shower me with unconditional agape love. Ernestine’s gentle, kind, and highly reassuring spirit is always available to lovingly help. Semanthie is a never-ending loving source of accurate information, which she freely shares. Maria or Doug will immediately come to my aid during difficult situations. Wanda believes in me and checks in with me often. Joyce befriended me and values our friendship.  Ken's positive, gentle Spirit is hypnotizing in an agape-loving way. Will shared a Karaoke session with me while we were in D.C. and invited me to be a part of his Friendly Voice program. Kathy’s positive kindhearted nurturing spirit reassures me. Antoine welcomed my volunteerism during my stay in California. The list of phenomenal AARP Family Members that I have interacted with is astounding.

I’ve grown to love Volunteering with AARP Ohio. I found the “Fruits of The Spirit” in my AARP family. Yes, I have a loving, supportive, nonjudgmental Family of AARP Brothers and Sisters embracing the founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus' spirit. The plus side to my AARP Family is it's available to me throughout the United States, which I have already experienced from New York to California. I love volunteering with AARP because I receive so much joy and support in my volunteering activities.

To my AARP Family, I am so grateful for your support and positive energy. I wish you all well and the best that life has to offer.

I’m thankful to Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus for establishing AARP. During AARP's National Volunteer Week, let's make an extra effort to contact a fellow AARP Volunteer to check on them, to let them know you’re thinking of them, or to pat them on the back for a “Job Well Done.” Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus would be proud of you.

- Chris Hughes, AARP Ohio volunteer

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