In early 2020 — before the coronavirus turned into a pandemic, before protests for racial equity, before more than two-dozen hurricanes and the West Coast wildfires — AARP teamed up with the nonprofit organization Public Allies to help make communities more livable and inclusive so people of all ages can thrive.
Developed with support from AARP, the new Livable Communities Corps was implemented by Public Allies in five regions (see the sidebar) to create safe, walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community life.
"The pilot year of the Livable Communities Corps has demonstrated what's possible when people form a national effort to impact change locally," says Caitlin Figurski Manzano, Public Allies' director of national cohorts. "The Allies are engaging community voices, assessing the impact of programs, launching new initiatives, and adapting what community work can look like in primarily virtual settings. The Allies learn from and support one another and then apply their learning to local service. We're grateful to AARP for this partnership that ensures national service initiatives are meaningful for people of all ages."
Rebecca Delphia, the AARP Livable Communities team member leading the initiative's work with Public Allies, agrees. "The Livable Communities Corps brings the power of national service to livability work," she says. "At AARP, we know the best solutions are intergenerational. Corps members are tackling pressing issues by helping communities meet the needs of older adults and people of all ages."
In March 2020, eight motivated individuals began a 10-month, full-time commitment to deliver a defined livability project that has a measurable impact on building the organizational and administrative capacity of a community's livability work. (Two additional corps members joined during the summer and are working at the Area Agency on Aging for North Florida.)
Individuals of all ages, backgrounds and experiences were welcome to apply. In return for their service, Livable Communities Corps members received a modest living allowance; health benefits; childcare support; and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or stipend upon completing their service.
Livable Communities Corps members have been working to build and design community programs, recruit and train volunteers, develop partnershipst, and launch new and innovative projects. The members meet online once a week for Public Allies-led leadership development training, mentoring, coaching, and support in achieving personal and professional goals.
Page published October 2020
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