AARP Gives Volunteers The Perfect Gift

AARP Disrupt Aging

AARP Foundation Experience Corps takes volunteer appreciation seriously.

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Foundation Experience Corps, DC Metro gives a gift to their volunteers every year for Volunteer Appreciation Week. This year, Sherry Holland-Senter, the program director, wanted to do something different — to provide a gift that extended lasting value to the volunteers. The leadership team gathered together to collaborate on ways to show appreciation to the volunteers. The branch director suggested a brilliant idea: Why not give a copy of Disrupting Aging by AARP’s CEO Jo Ann Jenkins to every volunteer to thank them for their hard work? Sherry checked the budget, and it turned out that it was possible!

The foundation, a charitable affiliate of AARP, strives to ensure all children have an equal opportunity to succeed and that older adults are valued by society. To fulfill their mission, the organization recruits volunteers over the age of 50 to provide social, emotional, and academic tutoring as well as mentoring to children.

“Together we are growing our impact, relevance, and revenue while our program continues to engage adults 50+ to help children build literacy skills in grades K–3,” Holland-Senter explains. With the help of many volunteers, AARP Foundation’s DC Metro works inside DC public schools to provide tutoring and mentoring to a select group of students who most need the support. The volunteers work specifically on strengthening literacy skills because that is the area most children fall behind in.

To help these students define and achieve their goals, AARP trains the volunteers to use the SMART goal model. Each volunteer sets specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals alongside their kids. This helps tutors make the most of their time with their students and set expectations for both parties. Since its launch, the program has proven to be rewarding for both tutors and students. Kids receive the support they need to grow academically, mentally, and emotionally. Meanwhile, adults experience positive effects on their own health and wellbeing by being actively engaged with their students, learning, and volunteering.

aarp volunteers

Two hundred sixty AARP Foundation volunteers received a copy of Disrupting Aging. “This was a great opportunity to take an enterprise-wide view to inspire and engage our volunteers with the launch of our new CEO’s book,” said Holland-Senter. Because AARP went out of its way to purchase the book for the volunteers and because the book was written by the organization’s founder, they felt appreciated and a part of a bigger movement. Talk about the perfect gift!

AARP’s thoughtful gift touched the lives of 260 volunteers — and consequently, all the children they worked with. BookPal is happy to have helped AARP encourage and inspire the lives of so many!

Is your organization doing something special with your latest bulk book purchase? Leave a comment below with your story — we’d love to hear from you.


This post was written by Michelle Drucker, the manager of marketing at BookPal. She is currently reading Making Work Work by Shola Richards and Winning Plays by Matt Mayberry.

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