After months of organizing, the members of the newly formed “My Personal Time” (MPT) portfolio group successfully conducted the annual AARP Day of Service project in Frederiksted, St. Croix. As a result of their efforts about 75 homeless individuals were able to receive personal hygiene care packets from AARP volunteers when they came to the Ann Heyliger Vegetable Market area.
The MPT group, headed by Vera M. Falú, originally came together earlier this year to explore different types of activities that AARP members might find interesting. Originally formed to focus on things like social networking, AARP national and local events, the members got very “fired up” one day when the AARP VI State Director, Denyce Singleton casually mentioned the need for the State Office to begin considering plans for 2012 Day of Service. Suddenly the room became a buzz of activity!
After listening to all the suggested ideas from the group and feeling the high level of energy in the room, Mrs. Falú realized she didn’t need to worry about planning the event since the group had already begun assigning tasks to one another.
“This was a wonderful Day of Service,” stated Singleton, “from start to finish the volunteers were so enthusiastic and so passionate. They decided what they wanted to do, how they were going to do it and what they needed to make it happen.”
Ironically, mid-way in their planning process, Vera Falú was tapped to become the Interim AARP State President when Dr. Paul Simmonds relinquished the position so he could provide a two-year consulting service to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. While this took some of Vera’s time away from the MPT group attending to
other AARP responsibilities, it also allowed Vera to give the group the opportunity to more fully pursue their passions with the project.
“Because of the nature of the portfolio,” stated Vera Falú, “the activities that fall into this category are not ones that AARP has traditionally undertaken. Instead, these were to be new, different and exciting areas that have more to do with the members’ personal passions. The activities are supposed to involve their personal development, hopes, dreams and aspirations. The MPT projects are intended to be more about expanding the individual than they are about the regular community service projects commonly associated with AARP.”
“Perhaps this is why the enthusiasm and energy level demonstrated for the 2012 Day of Service project was something no one was expecting,” continued Falú “Yes, we know that our VI volunteers are passionate about service to the community, but we didn’t know that they viewed service to the community on the same level as they viewed projects intended to serve or expand themselves. The VI volunteers never fail to surprise me with their selfless devotion to this community.”