Behind the scenes with Fayette AARP #2936

Years before retiring from a career of teaching students with special needs I became a member of AARP. My husband is 10 years older than me, so I’ve received AARP benefits for 25 years. When I did retire I joined the local chapter of AARP. My knowledge about the organization did not begin until then.

Many members of the nation at large view AARP as an insurance broker/provider. It is true that AARP was created with insurance in mind. The National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA) formed the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in 1958 11 years after the creation of NRTA.

Its founder, Dr. Ethel Perry Andrus, a retired school principal, formed the organization to promote her philosophy of productive aging, and in response to the need of retired teachers for health insurance. At that time health insurance was virtually unavailable to older Americans. Today NRTA is a division within AARP.

Each AARP chapter is a separate non-profit, non-partisan service organization registered with the secretary of state’s office. AARP 2936 serves Fayette County and pays corporation dues to the Secretary of State just like any other business. AARP 2936 receives no funds from the national or state organization. It is supported solely through membership dues, fundraising events, and donations or gifts in kind.

AARP 2936, as a service organization, follows the AARP national motto of “To serve, not to be served.” Locally we practice SUPPORT (for each other and the community) SERVICE (for the community) and FELLOWSHIP (with each other). We are volunteers in the community and believe in giving back and doing for whenever possible. Members of AARP 2936 totaled 4,525 volunteer hours during 2011. Volunteer hours for 2012 are approximately 3,500 to date. The chapter anticipates the volunteer hours for 2012 to surpass those of 2011. Our monthly programs focus on products and services in the community that impact Senior Citizens.

AARP 2936 gives back to the community through direct donations of funds and specific community service projects. Last year the chapter held the first annual “Warm Woolies” winter clothing drive. Being a new venture for the chapter, the drive took place for only two months (January-February) at one location.

Those two months generated donations of winter clothing for sixty-five individuals. All donations were delivered to a local non-profit clothing distribution center. Donations went to help fellow Fayette citizens in need.

The clothing drive is expanded this year. It will begin the first of November and go through the end of January. This year two collection sites are being used. Heritage Bank and Food Depot in Fayetteville were generous to allow us to place collections bins at their locations. Another organization, MU Chapter (Fayette County) of Kappa Kappa Iota, (a national professional organization for educators) will be co-sponsors with AARP 2936 this year.

One major problem faces AARP 2936. Its membership base is dwindling. The main causes are relocation to be near family and death. Many residents of the community are members of the national AARP organization but are not members of the local chapter.

As the current president of AARP 2936 I ask those who are not members of the local chapter, but are members of the national organization to become a part of the chapter to enable it to continue its good works for the community.

AARP 2936 meets at 1:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at Heritage Bank, Fayetteville, Ga. All meetings are open to the public. Come join us as we plan how we will “Serve and not be Served.”

Follow AARP 2936 on Facebook. Look for http://www.facebook.com/FayetteChapterAarp2936.

Carol A. Lunsford,

President, AARP 2936

fayettechapteraarp@gmail.com