Bettye Jackson has a history of putting others before herself. At 87, she also has a long list of goals she still wants to accomplish and for eight years has been serving her community in Greensboro, N.C., by volunteering for AARP Driver Safety. She is a model example of AARP’s Disrupt Aging campaign.
The Disrupt Aging campaign strives to shatter age stereotypes and prove that you can continue to contribute to your community, even as you age. The Driver Safety volunteer says she "disrupts aging" by staying busy and trying new things. “I’m in the middle of writing a book about aging and staying active," she says. "I’m also trying to visit all 50 states — I have about 24 left.” She believes staying active is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, adding, “I have arthritis, and I’m in pain every day, but I’ve learned to stay active as much as I can, and eventually, I don’t feel the pain anymore!”
She has always enjoyed giving back to her community, but volunteering with Driver Safety is particularly close to her heart. “I was so impressed with what I learned in the course, I wanted to share it with others,” she says. “I tell my classes all the time that taking that course saved my life because I was always a ‘speed demon.’ I enjoy it because it not only keeps my mind alert, but I meet so many wonderful people.”
Especially today, she believes her work with Driver Safety is crucial to keeping her community safe. “People are living longer and staying active longer — which means they are going to be on the road longer,” she says. “They need to stay safe on that road as long as they’re driving, and I’m hoping that I can help them do that.”
If members of the community want to volunteer but aren’t sure they have the energy or resources to do so, she has some advice: “There is no age limit to volunteer. Once you go through the training and you’re certified, go out there and teach that course. You’re not only saving lives, but you’re getting a good feeling out of it, too. Plus, there are other volunteers who are very willing to reach out and help you.”
As for advice on how to live your best life, she goes with a selfless approach: “You don’t have to see somebody in need to do something good for them. Pay it forward, pass it on, and you would be amazed at the good feeling you get when you do for others.”
Interested in volunteering like Bettye Jackson? Apply to volunteer with AARP Driver Safety today.