Eddie Agosto, 63, of the Bronx, had never given a speech, much less a motivational one, when he agreed in January to give a pep talk on behalf of AARP to people over 50 who had lost their jobs.
"I gave the speech in English in the morning and Spanish in the afternoon," he said.
Agosto was tapped to speak after he gave a talk about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, to fellow volunteers in the Drive to End Hunger last fall. That's when AARP staff noticed his knack for public speaking.
Agosto retired in 2009 after 43 years with the U.S. Postal Service. A letter from AARP seeking volunteers arrived at the perfect time. "I had cabin fever, but I didn't want to work," he said.
Recently, Agosto spoke on behalf of AARP at a press conference on Medicare fraud. He also spoke at a senior citizens center about proposed cuts to the state Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program.
Volunteering with AARP is "therapeutic and social," he said. "It's also good to know you helped someone."
Winnie Yu is a writer living in Voorheesville, N.Y.