Massachusetts — Carmen Pola
Carmen Pola is a powerful voice and organizer for the senior and Latino community throughout Boston. A lifelong advocate, she serves on Mayor Thomas Menino’s Elderly Commission Advisory Council to advocate for seniors’ rights. Pola founded the Legacy Project — a grassroots effort to unify seniors of all races — and led a successful campaign to establish a local senior center. She also fights for effective bilingual education programs in the Boston Public Schools, and served as the Community District/Advisory Council coordinator, part of the court-mandated school desegregation.
Michigan — Irma Durham
Irma Durham not only volunteers for AARP as a multicultural outreach volunteer and at the AARP Detroit Information Center, but also volunteers for six other organizations. As the chairwoman for Chapter 5291’s Community Service Committee, she worked to collect used cellphones and used the proceeds to purchase calling cards for overseas military personnel. She has also helped at the local food pantry, collected books and games for a VA hospital and made teddy bears for cancer patients. The nominator wrote, “Ms. Durham’s love for helping people shines through, thus motivating others to volunteer.”
Minnesota — Christeen Stone
Christeen Stone began volunteering with AARP on the State Legislative Council. She got her start in advocacy by working to pass end-of-life decision-making tools and went on to be a leading advocate on landmark MinnesotaCare legislation. She is a leader in her community — lawmakers know her by name — and is expert at using her passion and poise on behalf of others. Recently, after she testified, the ombudsman for Older Minnesotans commented to the Legislative Committee, “When I grow up, I want to be like Christeen.”
Mississippi — Elaine Baker
Elaine Baker — a native of Mound Bayou — is a Professor Emerita of Social Work at Albany State University, Georgia. Her teaching career spanned more than 30 years in the University System of Georgia and continued with post retirement adjunct appointments at Delta State University and Mississippi Valley State University. She is a member of the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Community involvement includes AARP-MS, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Mound Bayou Public Schools Alumni Association, NAACP, NCNW and Tougaloo College National Alumni Association.
Missouri — Bob Sanders
Bob Sanders has served 20 years with the Lions Club of Piedmont with two terms as president. He has been a member of AARP Wayne County Chapter 1270 since 1993, currently serving as president. He is an AARP community advocate volunteer and a volunteer for the EVE program — Elders Volunteering for Elders. He also volunteers at his church, Tabernacle Baptist, at which he has been a trustee for 20 years.