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AARP Colorado Engaging Young People at DU

As the You’ve Earned a Say TourMobile started winding down after a day of walking students through the possibilities of Social Security and Medicare reform, AARP Colorado’s intergenerational discussion on Medicare geared up inside a common area of the University of Denver, as part of the many You’ve Earned a Say events around the state over the past 8 months.

“It was exciting seeing so many people come through the doors, especially the young people,” said Colorado State Director Morie Smile.

One young woman in the crowd at one of the DU events said what many AARP associates long to hear: “I’m Maureen and I’m a graduate student here, and I feel I have to educate myself on how Social Security cuts and Medicare cuts will affect me once I graduate. I know it’s very nerve-racking knowing we’re going to have to get out in the real world, and I think this will better prepare me to take control of my own situation.”

This particular hour and a half program kicked off with a keynote address by AARP Board of Directors President-Elect Jeannine English, who said Social Security and Medicare are programs that are providing valuable benefits to millions of people in need.

“I think it’s a really important and good time to have this conversation,” she said. “The president and Congress… are likely to really make big decisions about Medicare and Social Security and they will have major consequences not on just you, but on your children and grandchildren, and on your community. Medicare and Social Security are a foundation of retirement security for the mass majority of older Coloradans.”

In Colorado more than 631,000 people rely on Medicare and more than 693,000 rely on Social Security. The annual Social Security benefit is only about $14,000.

Kelli Fritts, AARP Colorado Associate State Director for Advocacy, as well as a host of volunteers and AARP local and national staff urged crowds across the state to review the 15 Medicare options and 12 Social Security options currently on the table in Washington D.C. The options are available at earnedasay.org.

After the first DU event, AARP Colorado followed the TourMobile to Grand Junction, engaging hundreds more during the Fruita Fall Festival. Following the festival, AARP Colorado returned to Denver for the first Presidential Debate on the DU college campus, in which AARP Colorado again talked to hundreds of students, as well as families and older adults.

Earlier in the year, AARP released a series of surveys on the opinions of voters ages 50 and over, which found that Colorado voters overwhelmingly were concerned about their retirement and didn’t think the candidates had done a good explaining their plans on Social Security (76%) and Medicare (71%).

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