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Participant and Volunteer Stories

At AARP Foundation, a crucial measure of our success is the stories we get to share about the people we serve. They’re stories of resilience and tenacity. Of commitment and community. Most of all, they’re stories of transformation.

Here you’ll find stories about how our programs have helped people find hope, and about the volunteers who give so much of themselves to help others. If your life has been transformed by your involvement with one of AARP Foundation’s programs, we want to hear your story, too. 

“You can see in their face that they got it. It just makes you feel good.”

Read how Calvin Leonard finds satisfaction in tutoring young students.  

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“Having gone through such serious hardship myself, I know what it’s like for the people I work with.”

Read how Belinda Kizer went from being unemployed to helping older adults find jobs.

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“Retiring wasn't the end … it was a new beginning for me.”

Read about Deborah Lofton’s journey from nurse to successful entrepreneur.

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“It was awful. I thought they had made an error.”

Read about Mary’s tireless work to reclaim the pensions she and others are owed.

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“It gave me confidence and a purpose.”

See how Louvenia Williams gained new tech skills and so much more.

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“It’s what Mom would have done.”

Read how Aubrey Jones’s deep family connections drove him to carry on his mother’s case against patient dumping. 

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“Clients are not just numbers.”

Read how AARP Foundation grantee SC Thrive connects older adults to benefits and so much more. 

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“AARP Foundation is an organization that doesn’t just talk about helping, they really roll up their sleeves and do the work.”

Donor Matthew Krecic tells why he added donations to his work as a volunteer.

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“I get the joy and satisfaction that I'm helping all these people get what they deserve.” 

Find out why volunteering with Tax-Aide is so appealing to Dave Martz.

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“I would tell them that they could help a child succeed.” 

Read why AARP Foundation Experience Corps volunteer Sharon Justis loves tutoring young students.

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“Right is right, and wrong is wrong.”

Learn how construction worker Shawn Jones fought against a hefty penalty for not participating in a company wellness program.

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“If you haven’t had exposure to what it really takes to start a business, this is where you want to go.”

Learn how Alethia Brown bounced back after losing everything. 

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“The rewards I receive from the children are greater than what I do.”

Learn how a retired nurse applies her passion for learning to her volunteering as an AARP Foundation Experience Corps tutor.

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Maurine Morrow Story

“I know how people feel when a hurricane comes and affects everything. It’s devastating.”

Learn how Maureen Morrow, a determined legal aid lawyer, helped Louisianans recover from Hurricane Ida.

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Learn how Vietress Bacon got to move into her own home as part of major lawsuit against nursing facilities.

“I just wish that other people could get out.” 

Vietress Bacon ended up in a nursing facility and couldn’t get out — until AARP Foundation helped.

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Marian Chauvin cuts the ribbon on her rebuilt home with members of the SBP team.

“With AARP Foundation’s generous support, [we have] rebuilt 10 homes for … Ida-impacted older adults in Louisiana.”

Read about how grantee SBP used disaster-relief support from AARP Foundation to repair and rebuild the homes of older adults in Louisiana.

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“It is a joy when I get to see my students realize that they can read well.

Read Linda Fong’s essay on how tutoring with Experience Corps lets her create a meaningful connection with future generations. 

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“It empowers a person. I would absolutely recommend the program to other people.

Learn how Marielena Bencomo found her dream job with help from BACK TO WORK 50+.

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“The networking was huge, but also being able to ask questions and knowing you’re not alone in this mess.”

Read how Lillian Shupe’s new job also fulfills her passion for nature, thanks to what she learned through the BACK TO WORK 50+ program.

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Lorettta Boyd SCSEP Workforce Program Participant and Her Family

Loretta Boyd (left) with her mother and children

"The SCSEP program helped save me. It transformed my life.”

Read how Loretta Boyd overcame countless obstacles to find success, with help from AARP Foundation SCSEP.

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“It’s a great way to continue serving people.”

Find out why his neighbors are happy to see Property Tax-Aide volunteer John Bolton when spring rolls around.

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“We have people who burst into tears when they find that they get a refund.”

Learn about Janelle Riedl and her team of Tax-Aide volunteers, whose commitment to their community goes beyond taxes.

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“I’m determined, and I keep moving on.”

Find out how Andrew Ziccardi set his business up for success with help from Work for Yourself@50+.

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"I just wanted to share the exciting news… I GOT THE JOB!”

Read how Cynthia Fernandez was able to find a new job in the middle of a pandemic.

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 "I thought that it would give me a chance to give back.”

Read about Willie Jean, who finds teaching young kids to become great readers a moving experience.

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“It’s been a really eye-opening and rewarding volunteer experience."

Learn how Alan puts his puzzle-solving skills to good use as an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteer.

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“They helped me get back to myself.”

Read how a difficult decision — to leave her job so she could care for her ailing mother — led Jacquie to BACK TO WORK 50+. Now she has a job she loves. 

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“People have a lot of trust in AARP Foundation’s programs.”

Read how volunteering with Tax-Aide lets Denise serve a community she says is bounded by trust, need, and caring. 

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“I’m going to teach you to read."

Read about how a retired firefighter continues to serve his community by helping young students become better readers.

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“Nowadays, careers are merging, and you have to know more."

Read how BACK TO WORK 50+ helped Gabe build the skills he needed to move forward after age discrimination hampered his job search.

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"Some days I wanted to quit, but you have to keep going."

Learn how Lisa got her job groove back after she was laid off by her employer of more than 40 years. 

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“Looking for work in your 60s, where do you start?"

Read how Wanda's new job hunt was radically different from the one she remembered. 

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