Event Details


Sept. 20-22, 2012

New Orleans Morial

Convention Center

900 Convention Center Blvd.

New Orleans, LA 70130



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Life@50+ New Orleans Volunteer Day
Project Descriptions

The following are the projects that AARP Volunteers supported during the New Orleans Reimagined volunteer day at the 2012 Life@50+ event:

Select any project name from the list above to learn more about it.


Watch a slideshow of the volunteers »


Arc of Greater New Orleans

It started out as an idea in 1953 by a group of concerned parents. Originally known as the Association for Retarded Children, a small, but extremely determined gathering of parents organized and implemented an action plan as a means of helping each other and their children affected by mental and related developmental disabilities. Slowly, limited education services were initiated with the determination of parent-volunteers leading the efforts.


Now known as Arc of Greater New Orleans, the organization and its services have flourished over the years, now serving some 1,000
children and adults in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes. Arc provides various services throughout the community including early intervention, family services coordination, respite, personal care, employment/habilitation and supported living assistance.


Indoor Activity: Schools/Senior Center/Green Project

AARP Volunteers will assist the residents with sorting donated Mardi Gras beads that Arc sells during Carnival season as a fundraiser. Keeping it green and recycling in the New Orleans area is a base for this ongoing community project.


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City Park

City Park is a unique state agency of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism operated by the nonprofit City Park Improvement Association (CPIA), with the land being owned by the City of New Orleans. City Park traditionally received little or no public operating support, however following Hurricane Katrina, the park started to receive operating assistance from the State of Louisiana. The park receives capitol support from the City of New Orleans but no operating funds. In 2009, this public support amounted to approximately 19 percent of the total operating budget, leaving the park to raise 81 percent through self-generated revenue.


Once the site of Allard Plantation facing Bayou St. John, City Park's 1,300 acres offer visitors a sample of the city's riches both in fine art and natural splendor. City Park is home to the New Orleans Museum of Art and the largest collection of mature oaks in the world. Some trees in the oldest grove are over 600 years old! Spanning the transition in art and architecture between Neo-Classical revival and Art Deco styles, the park's bridges, buildings and outdoor sculptures are a constant source of delight to visitors.


The first parcel of land was acquired in 1854, making it one of the country's oldest parks. After several expansions, the 1,300-acre City Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country.


Moderate Outdoor Activity: Construction Site Preparation/Site Clean Up/Gardening/Planting (Morning)

AARP Volunteers will play a key role in maintaining and developing a stronger park. Jobs could include painting, planting flower beds and trees, watering, weeding the beds and pruning.


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Edible Schoolyard New Orleans

Founded in 2006, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESY NOLA) changes the way kids eat, learn and live at five FirstLine public charter schools in New Orleans. Our goal is to improve the long-term well-being of our students, families and school community. We do this by integrating hands-on organic gardening and seasonal cooking into the school curriculum, culture and cafeteria programs. ESY NOLA involves students in all aspects of growing, harvesting, preparing and enjoying food together as a means of awakening their senses, cultivating a school environment that promotes a sense of pride and responsibility for our land and natural resources, and developing a love of fresh, seasonal foods.


Indoor Activity: Schools/Senior Center/Art Project (Morning and Afternoon)

AARP Volunteers will work at the convention center to create mosaic steppingstones and decorative garden signs to be distributed throughout the Edible Schoolyard system.


Light Outdoor Activity: Community Garden/Schools/Green Project (Morning)

AARP Volunteers will work with the director of gardening to help cultivate, weed and nurture one of the onsite Edible Gardens.

Aetna Logo

The Edible Schoolyard New Orleans projects were sponsored by Aetna.


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Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership

Formed in November 2005, the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership (GNODRP) is a coalition of 70-plus member agencies including faith-based, nonprofits, government liaisons and long-term recovery organizations serving those impacted by the 2005 hurricanes in the greater New Orleans region. Additionally, we are planning ways to continue to support the community and be prepared for future disasters. GNODRP’s preparedness arm is the Greater New Orleans Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (GNOVOAD). GNODRP is also an active member of the Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LA VOAD).


The GNODRP will partner with Good360, UPS Foundation and AARP Foundation. Good360 is growing the world’s largest online product donation marketplace, where product donations from America’s top brands and retailers become goods for the greater good. It is the next-generation incarnation of Gifts In Kind International, a pioneer in the product giving space, recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s most efficient charities. In three decades of service, Good360 has distributed nearly $7 billion in product donations to thousands of organizations serving a wide spectrum of people in need.


Indoor Activity: Packaging Supplies/Senior and Youth

AARP Volunteers will assist with the kitting of senior health packets along with student packets to be dispersed in the local New Orleans area.

Good 360 Logo


The Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership project was sponsored by Good360 and the UPS Foundation.

UPS Logo









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Green Light New Orleans: Tip the Block & Lightbulb Replacement

Green Light New Orleans is a local nonprofit organization focused on demonstrating that individual action can create significant change for both the environment and the community. Green Light New Orleans runs a free energy-efficient lightbulb program that has served over 16,000 New Orleans households since it was founded in 2006, enabling residents to save an estimated $16.5 million in utility costs and reducing the carbon footprint of the community by 161 million pounds of carbon dioxide.


Tip the Block is a program developed by Green Light New Orleans, a local environmental nonprofit organization that connects New Orleans residents to free services that help them increase their energy efficiency, live sustainable lifestyles and beautify their neighborhoods. Green Light utilizes established relationships with participants of the free energy-efficient lightbulb program to engage entire neighborhoods in the implementation of sustainable living. The Tip the Block program concentrates Green Light's impact on a neighborhood level and provides a unique opportunity to connect residents with sustainable resources, other organizations and one another.


Light Outdoor Activity: Landscaping/Community Garden/Green Project (Morning)

AARP volunteers will work with the Green Light staff on this larger-scale project that organizes advocacy efforts on a block-by-block basis, spreading environmental responsibility from neighbor to neighbor. In a designated nine-block Tip the Block area, AARP volunteers will work with local residents to clean, weed and freshen backyard vegetable gardens as well as work on existing vegetable garden projects. AARP volunteers may also participate in other projects that increase the residents’ sustainability and beautify the neighborhood, such as storm drain cleaning, rain barrel installation or house painting with Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush With Kindness program. By providing these services to residents who have requested them, AARP volunteers will help Green Light create awareness of the services that are available through Tip the Block. Word of mouth and effective promotion will encourage other residents in the block to make changes as well, until eventually the entire block will “tip” to more sustainable living. Multiple blocks “tip” the neighborhood and eventually lead to a more sustainable New Orleans.


Light Outdoor/Indoor Activity: Green Project (Morning and Afternoon)

AARP volunteers will work with Green Light New Orleans to show how to invest energy in people by assisting New Orleans residents in person, one household at a time. Volunteers will install free energy-efficient lightbulbs for New Orleans households that help residents reduce their energy use and save money on their electricity bills. Vans of 15 volunteers will work in groups of five to rotate from house to house assisting residents with the replacement of existing lightbulbs with energy-efficient bulbs. The time volunteers spend in each home creates a wonderful and unique opportunity to interact with the host family receiving the service, and driving from house to house enables volunteers to see and get to know the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans, many of which they might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit. This project is a great option for volunteers who want to experience some real New Orleans culture.


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Hike for KaTREEna: Behrman Stadium Beautification Project

New Orleans suffered many losses in Katrina and its aftermath. One of the major casualties was the city’s trees. Over 100,000 were lost, including most of the beautiful magnolias and many oaks.


In 2006, lifelong New Orleans resident Monique Pilié hiked the 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail, starting in Georgia and ending in Maine. Her goal was to raise awareness of the storm’s impact on the city’s treescape and to raise enough money to plant one tree in New Orleans for every mile she hiked. To that end, she started a nonprofit organization called Hike for KaTREEna. On Oct. 7, 2006, after six months hiking, Monique finished the Appalachian Trail, arriving at Mount Katahdin in Maine. During the hike she raised thousands of dollars. She came home and, together with a host of volunteers from New Orleans and across the country, she began planting trees. Hike for KaTREEna is still planting … and still raising money to replace the tens of thousands of trees still sorely missed in New Orleans.


Located in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, Behrman Park contains 60 acres of land, the majority of which is still green space.  The area was named for one of the most popular mayors in New Orleans, Martin Behrman, who held his position for five terms in the early 1900s. The stadium has long been the site of Friday night football games for both the O. Perry Walker and Edna Karr high school teams. In addition to the stadium, there is a community pool, tennis courts, track and gymnasium.


Moderate Outdoor Activity: Construction Site Preparation/Site Clean Up/Gardening/Planting (Morning and Afternoon)

AARP Volunteers will work with Hike for KaTREEna to revitalize one of New Orleans area's notable youth stadiums by scraping, priming, painting and general upkeep and cleaning of the historic Behrman Stadium.


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Kingsley House

Founded in 1896, Kingsley House, a United Way community impact partner, has served the children and families of New Orleans through times of dramatic change for 116 years. From the challenges immigrants faced at the turn of the 20th century, to today’s momentous challenges of recovery and rebuilding in our city and region, Kingsley House remains a safe haven to countless children and families and a beacon of hope for the community’s future.


Their mission — “Kingsley House educates children, strengthens families and builds community” — remains vital to this day. Each year, Kingsley House provides nationally accredited and state certified programs to over 7,000 infants, children, youth, parents, senior citizens and medically fragile adults from 12 parishes throughout southeastern Louisiana.


Indoor Activity: Schools/Women's Center/Senior Center (Morning)

AARP Volunteers will begin with a tour of the facility followed by assisting teachers in the preschool with day-to-day activities (reading, games, etc.) and other volunteers will be in their Adult Day HealthCare and Senior Center assisting with activities (bingo, arts and crafts etc.).  The children range from 6 weeks to 5 years old while their adult program services medically fragile adults 18 years and older and senior citizens (our oldest participant is 106!)

Life@50+ United Health Group Logo

The Kingsley House project was sponsored by UnitedHealth Group.


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Magnolia School

Founded in 1935, The Magnolia School is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing supports to adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. They offer support and services in 19 group homes, supported community living, a vocational/day habilitation program and supported employment. The main campus is on 11 acres of the grounds of the former Whitehall Plantation facing the Mississippi River in Jefferson, La. The group homes and supported living apartments are located in residential neighborhoods throughout Jefferson Parish.


The individuals they serve are adults 21 years of age and older with developmental disabilities: 125 individuals living in 19 on-site group homes; 235 individuals arriving for day services from their own homes; and 35 individuals living in their own homes or apartments in the Supported Living program. Special Creations is their shop of unique gifts and decorative selections to meet all tastes and price ranges. It’s a delightful shopping experience with just that special creative touch. Many of the items are handmade by the clients — adults with intellectual disabilities — which provides a variety of jobs and employment.


Indoor Activity: Schools/Youth & Senior Center/Art Project (Afternoon)

AARP Volunteers will be invited into the main campus consisting of 11 acres to assist with afternoon crafts, dance lessons, bingo and possibly some light gardening.

The Hartford Logo



The Magnolia School project was sponsored by The Hartford.



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New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity

New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1983 and averaged a building capacity of 10 homes per year until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Post Katrina, New Orleans Habitat has built 450 homes (as of June 2012). The affiliate has more than 30 full-time employees, a ReStore discount home improvement store and more than 550 partner families. New Orleans Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians’ Village is one of the most notable rebuilding projects in New Orleans. The village is home to 72 partner families in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans and is the home of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.

Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from all faiths and walks of life to work together in partnership, building houses with families in need. Habitat for Humanity International has grown to more than 2,100 affiliates in more than 100 countries, including all 50 U.S. states.


Moderate Outdoor Activity: Construction Site Preparation/Site Clean Up/Gardening/Planting (Morning and Afternoon)

AARP Volunteers will be focusing on the Holly Grove area targeting several existing homes in the neighborhood. Projects will include “A Brush With Kindness” (ABWK). ABWK will serve homeowners who reside in the neighborhood, but do not have the financial and/or physical capacity to do general upkeep on their home. Volunteer activities will include landscaping, painting, scraping and other minor exterior improvements. These improvements may, when appropriate, include adding accessibility features such as handicap ramps and hand rails. Tasks will range from moderate construction to light labor in order to accommodate a variety of skill levels.

Allstate Logo


The New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity project was sponsored by Allstate.


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St Bernard Project

St. Bernard Project (SBP) is an award-winning rebuilding, nonprofit organization whose mission is to remove physical, mental and emotional barriers for vulnerable families, senior citizens and disabled residents who are struggling to recover from the devastation and trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill. With its innovative, vertically integrated construction system, SBP is poised to serve as a model for disaster rebuilding and affordable housing. With clients throughout the greater New Orleans area, SBP reaches the communities most in need.


The St. Bernard Project was started in March 2006 by Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg, a teacher and lawyer, respectively, from Washington, D.C., after they saw the tremendous needs, yet solvable problems in the New Orleans region. During their initial month of service, they met residents who were courageous, spirited and determined to rebuild their lives and community. They shared their stories, opened their homes and made Liz and Zack laugh, cry and question their own values. Inspired by the residents’ collective spirit, openness and fierce desire to rebuild their lives and community, Zack and Liz decided to create an organization that would provide vital resources and support to families in a seamless and timely manner. SBP’s programs and goals are directly driven by the needs expressed by the community members.


Moderate Outdoor Activity: Construction Site Preparation/Site Clean Up/Gardening/Planting (Morning and Afternoon)

St. Bernard Project will focus their construction sites in Orleans Parish and will include plenty of painting, mudding and other low impact work.

Bank of America Logo


The St. Bernard project was sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


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Second Harvest Food Bank

Second Harvest of Greater New Orleans was founded on Dec. 9, 1982, under the leadership of Archbishop Philip M. Hannan and the Archdiocese of New Orleans to assist with emergency food distribution to the range of services the Archdiocese offered. By July 1983 the food bank had 23 faith-based and nonprofit member agencies receiving product. In 1984, the numbers grew to more than 50,000 pounds of food per month to 79 agencies.


Today, Second Harvest Food Bank distributes more than 22 million meals through a network of 240 nonprofit member agencies and provides emergency food assistance to more than 263,000 people, including nearly 82,000 children and 40,000 seniors.


In December 2007, the Second Harvest Food Bank Board of Directors adopted a long-term strategic plan with ambitious goals — among them, to increase annual food distribution to 38 million meals across the 23 parish service area by 2013.  The plan called for Second Harvest to secure the infrastructure required to enhance the food bank’s capacity to accept and distribute better quality and larger quantities of food, improve and expand services, deliver community programs, expand volunteer opportunities and strengthen Second Harvest Food Bank’s vital role in times of disaster.


Indoor Activity: Packaging Supplies/Hunger Programs (Morning and Afternoon)

AARP Volunteers will work together with Second Harvest staff to repackage assorted produce. All of the packaged produce will later be distributed into the New Orleans metropolitan area at shelters and distribution centers. You will be working in a refrigerated cooler set at 55 degrees so please bring a light jacket or sweater. Please dress accordingly.

New York Life logo


The Second Harvest Food Bank project was sponsored by New York Life.



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World War II Museum Warehouse

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans opened on June 6, 2000, as The National D-Day Museum. Founded by historian and author Stephen Ambrose, the museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world — why it was fought, how it was won and what it means today — so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.


Designated by Congress in 2003 as the America’s National WWII Museum, the campus includes the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, showcasing the large artifacts of the war and exhibits on D-Day at Normandy, the Home Front and the Pacific; the Solomon Victory Theater, a 4-D theater showing the exclusive Tom Hanks production, Beyond All Boundaries; the Stage Door Canteen, where the music and entertainment of the “Greatest Generation” comes to life; the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion where staff and volunteers restore artifacts in public view; and the American Sector restaurant and Soda Shop — delicious onsite dining options by Chef John Besh.


Light Indoor Activity (Morning)

Mops and buckets — including sweeping, mopping, washing of both vehicles and fixtures.  AARP Volunteers and staff will work to cut down on the amount of dust and dirt providing a clean shop area.  The space is not air-conditioned so please dress accordingly. There are lots of fans that will be used to circulate the air and a refrigerator full of bottled water! There is a small air-conditioned office where you can take a break and cool off if needed.

Life@50+ Sponsor Walgreens


The World War II Museum project was sponsored by Walgreens.


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