Centennial Hall will host Juneau's first ever AARP Day this weekend. The Saturday event was made possible thanks to local AARP volunteers.
"We have a spectacular group of local AARP volunteers called the Juneau Community Council," said Daryl Royce, Alaska AARP director of community outreach. "That group is very dedicated to the work of AARP and approached our state office and said they would like to host an event to highlight as many things about AARP as possible. Juneau has tremendously strong volunteer support."
Alaska boasts 97,000 of AARP's 40 million members. An annual AARP national member event is held annually, most recently in Las Vegas, but tomorrow's event is exclusive to Alaska.
"It's unprecedented," AARP director of communications Ann Secrest said. "It's never been done in the country and we are doing it first right here in Juneau."
The group was founded in 1947 as a retired teachers organization. It later grew to include other retirees and in 1958 was established as the American Association of Retired Persons. The term retired no longer applies, however, because half of the members are still working. It is an advocacy and information organization and membership can be obtained at the age of 50, but anyone can access its programs.
AARP provides programs, support, and information for the 50-plus population. Some of the issues it's currently dealing with are health care reform, tax aid assistance for low income individuals, and driver safety programs.
"Many of our programs are open to anyone of any age," Royce said. "Especially the driver safety program, because younger people get a discount on their insurance if they show they have taken a driver safety course."
AARP's tax program is a group of volunteers around the country who help prepare tax returns free of charge and has been very successful in Alaska. They are also noted for interracial advocacy issues, estate planning, financial security, long-term care issues, health care and pension reform.
"This event here in Juneau is to focus on as many parts of AARP that we can fit into one day in one building," Royce said. "Any age is welcome and it is free of charge, open to the public."
The theme for the event is called "Creating the good," referring to AARP's volunteer recruitment effort.
Individuals can look for or post volunteer opportunities online at www.createthegood.org.
Royce said promoting volunteerism will be a "big part of the day."
"We want to make sure people understand that there are a lot of opportunities in Juneau to be able to contribute on a volunteer basis," he said.
Contact Klas Stolpe at firstname.lastname@example.org.