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Photo Album: Community Resilience

Here's a look at a few of the projects made possible or helped by the AARP Community Challenge

AARP Community Challenge grants have supported efforts to strengthen the resilience of communities and residents from disasters, extreme weather events, hazards and hardships. (Click on the image or links to "visit" the community.)

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City signage about green infrastructure


The City of Oklahoma used its AARP Community Challenge grant to create bioswales for capturing, slowing down and filtering stormwater runoff from a nearby parking lot. Educational signage explains how bioswales work to protect local waters and how native plants are both a beautiful and sustainable landscaping solution.  

Portland, Oregon

Lajas, Puerto Rico

Rincon, Orocovis, Mayaguez, Rio Grande and Ponce, Puerto Rico

Volunteers set up a community garden in Puerto Rico


The nonprofit ACOMERPR provides food and medical resources to at-risk older adults and people displaced by disasters. (As noted on its website, the organization “has increasingly grown to serve elderly populations, as they suffer from severe food insecurity when compared to the national average.”) An AARP Community Challenge grant funded the installation of community gardens and internet-equipped conference rooms at several senior centers. The gardens are managed by local leaders, who organize group gardening sessions. An agronomist (that’s a specialist in field-crop production and soil management) visits each center to provide technical assistance.

Tortuga, Puerto Rico

Four women pose bin front of donated appliances


Ponce Neighborhood Housing Services is transforming an abandoned community center into a community resiliency center that can provide needed services during an emergency. AARP grant funds helped acquire emergency supplies, including appliances, a generator and water tank, cots and first aid kits. When fully operational, the center will be able to serve more than 500 people at once. When not in crisis mode, the space will be used to provide services and workshops in disaster preparedness; mitigation planning and recovery; counseling; shelter management; community empowerment and more.

St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Six people building trail tables and benches


The Virgin Islands Trail Alliance used its AARP Community Challenge grant to restore and groom 8 miles of hurricane damaged rainforest trails. The cleanup involved installing signs, maps, picnic tables and benches along the Windsor Farm Trails. Much of the work was through My Brothers Workshop, a nonprofit that teaches career-building carpentry skills to young men ages 18 to 20.

Hau'ula, Hawaii

Volunteers and signage about the OLA Resilience Trail

Photo from Hui o Hau'ula (GRANTEE, 2022 AARP COMMUNITY CHALLENGE)

Volunteers came together with Hui o Hau'ula to clear invasive species from a five-acre plot that is the future home of the Ko'olauloa Community Resilience Hub, which will replace the community center that's currently located in a flood and tsunami zone. The new center will offer protection for the community during weather disasters. During other times it will offer a range  of community activities and help coordinate emergency response providers, including medical personel, neighborhood block captions, radio teams and emergency planners.  

Watch this YouTube video to learn more.

Gulfport, Mississippi

An outdoor pavilion and the Bark Park in Gulfport, Mississippi

PHOTO FROM the City of Gulfport (GRANTEE, 2017, 2018, 2019 AARP COMMUNITY CHALLENGES)

The City of Gulfport has put its three AARP Community Challenge grants toward the revitalization of a waterfront space and neighborhood that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The grants have helped to remove invasive plant species, create a nature trail, add public seating, construct a pavilion that is used as an outdoor classroom and gathering space and, most impactfully, establish the city’s first dog park, the Bark Park, which opened in 2017 on land that is so flood prone that it’s no longer suitable for housing or businesses. The park closes when flood waters rise. When the area dries out, people and their pups return.

Watch an AARP video about the Bark Park’s opening day.

More About the AARP Community Challenge

Page published February 2023

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