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Illinois

Volunteers Play Important AARP Roles

Giving back to the community has its own rewards

Amelia Paschedag, has been a volunteer lobbyist for AARP for 20 years and is well known around the state Capitol and the governor�s office.

Amelia Paschedag, 80, of Edwardsville, has been a volunteer lobbyist for AARP for 20 years and is well known around the state Capitol and the governor’s office. — Photos by Jennifer Silverberg

At 80, Amelia Paschedag is one of AARP's oldest advocacy volunteers in Illinois, often working longer days than her younger counterparts.

See also: Volunteers make tax time less taxing.

"I could probably outwalk most of the people I was with," said Paschedag, of Edwardsville. "And I still can take the stairs."

Around the state Capitol, she's known as an aggressive volunteer. A high school home economics and economics teacher for 38 years, Paschedag began lobbying legislators for grant money for schools in the early 1960s. She started volunteering for AARP Illinois in 1992, at first distributing position papers to legislators on behalf of the organization. Then she started to lobby face-to-face, choosing issues she felt passionate about.

Paschedag is among more than 200 people who volunteer for AARP Illinois in a variety of roles. Here are some other examples.

While helping at a local university library and at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Martha Clough already had the volunteer spirit when AARP asked her to lend a hand six years ago.

AARP volunteer Mary Clough is also a volunteer at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

Martha Clough

Clough, 66, of Buckhart, worked with AARP staff members to organize volunteers for the state office. They perform a variety of tasks, such as serving as legislative advocates and handing out brochures at local health fairs and the Illinois State Fair.

Along with the volunteers she organizes, Clough helps improve the lives of those over 50. She has visited a nursing home to help organize holiday parties and to distribute gifts and handmade blankets.

"It gives us a good feeling that we're making a little bit of difference in others' lives. We get to help others, including those less fortunate," Clough said.

She and her husband, Dean, have also assisted at the Illinois Senior Olympics in Springfield, specifically the swimming and shot put events.

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