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Whether it's physical fitness tips or advice for grandparents raising their grandchildren, AARP prides itself on being a credible source of timely, relevant information for its members. AARP The Magazine is one of our most important information vehicles - in fact, it has a larger circulation than any other magazine in the world.

Advocacy is one of AARP's most critical and valuable functions. Our members can rely on us to represent their interests when it comes to pivotal legislative, regulatory and legal matters. Let me give you just a few examples. A few years ago our support was critical to the enactment of prescription drug coverage under Medicare, the publicly-funded health care program for older Americans.

As you may know, Social Security now in place for 70 years, is the U.S. government insurance program that provides a guaranteed income for disabled Americans and retirement income for seniors and their survivors. Throughout this year, we have waged a battle to block attempts to drain money out of Social Security for use as private investment accounts - something that would force reductions in future benefits, create a mountain of new debt and pass the bill along to future generations.

Advocacy means more than lobbying the government. For example, through our affiliated charity, AARP Foundation, we also provide legal support for older Americans who have been victimized by discrimination in the workplace. We also litigate to protect the rights of older Americans regarding health and long-term care.

AARP is also renowned for its unique, unparalleled member services. Our for-profit subsidiary offers a broad menu of insurance policies - health auto and life-as well as discounts on travel, entertainment products and other consumer goods.

At AARP, "service" also means community service. We believe, as the Hindu proverb says, that "They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing." Volunteerism is the beating heart of AARP. Our founder, Dr. Andrus, had a motto - "To serve, not to be served." That is a guiding organizational philosophy to this day.

Up and down our organization, volunteers are empowered to change lives in American communities and make critical decisions about the goals and direction of our organization. The President of AARP is a volunteer, and I am a member of AARP's all-volunteer Board of Directors.

In the coming years, there will be millions upon millions of mature, experienced Americans…living longer and healthier than ever before…many looking to wind down their professional lives but still looking to invest their time in worthwhile endeavors. In short, we're talking about a deep reservoir of human capital that can be tapped for society's volunteer needs.

And we're doing our best to tap it. In addition to our volunteer leadership, we have about 160,000 volunteers across the country, who give their personal time to help improve the lives of older Americans. Volunteers are critical to the success of our Benefits Outreach Program, helping low-income older Americans take advantage of federal, state, local and private services that provide food, shelter and health care. Volunteer instructors are the reason for the success of our Driver Safety Program, which helps 700,000 people brush up on their driving skills.

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