Local AARP has been uniting seniors for 25 years

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 24, 2015

By Jerry Shelby

Special to the Salisbury Post

The Salisbury/Rowan AARP Chapter 4314 was started Nov. 13, 1987, and chartered Feb. 9, 1990. A 25-year charter celebration will be held at the Thursday, March 5 meeting at 1 p.m. at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center. Mayor Paul Woodson will be the featured speaker.

Membership is open to any resident of Rowan County and the surrounding area who reaches the age of 50. Current and past members and citizens who would like to be a member of the organization are welcome to attend the celebration.

AARP was founded in 1958 by retired California educator Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus as the American Association of Retired Persons for people over 50 years old. We expanded from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA) that was started in 1940 to make sure retired teachers could get good pensions and affordable health insurance. Today, NRTA is a division of AARP. In 1999, we shortened our name to AARP because many of our members were not retired. This is not a word. It is A-A-R-P.

AARP’s mission is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all people as they age through information, education, leadership, advocacy and service. We lead positive change and deliver value to our over 47 million members.

Our areas of emphasis are in: retirement benefits, health and health care benefits, economic security, life issues, fighting discrimination based on age, protecting citizens against fraud and scams, and community service. We are a nonprofit, non-partisan civic/service organization for people 50 years and older that desire to serve the communities by helping the 50-plus age citizens become involved in our communities, to bring about positive change, and to make a difference in making our communities a better place to live. A senior-friendly community is a friendly community for everyone.

Our motto is “To serve, not to be served.”

The Salisbury/Rowan AARP chapter meetings provide a forum for members to discuss local, state and national issues to achieve common goals. We present programs that inform and educate members about health care, nutrition, economic security, consumer protection, safety concerns and much more that will result in improving quality of life.

The chapter offers an opportunity to be involved in the community. We promote fellowship and social interaction. The chapter promotes a positive image of seniors by demonstrating leadership, talent, creativity and community involvement. The collective strength of our members helps to make a difference in our community, state and nation by sharing ideas and information with government and other organizations that are involved with senior issues.

Our members are community and state volunteers and leaders.

Our officers and chairmen attend state leadership meetings to learn “how to” lead and then teach others the importance of community service and making a difference through community service projects, volunteering, serving on committees and boards, having leadership roles and advocating issues important to senior citizens and others.

A recent survey of our members’ volunteer activities includes having leadership positions on local, county and state boards.

The local chapter has been recognized as one of the stronger chapters in the state and has been presented a Chapter of the Year Award, and a local member has received the Andrus Award for leadership and volunteer service. The Andrus Award is the highest award presented by the national AARP organization.

The chapter meets the first Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center in Salisbury. The last meeting of each quarter is a potluck lunch starting at 12:30 p.m., followed by the regular meeting. We have a program at the meetings.

Local chapters are important because they help carry the national message and run local projects. Senior citizens over the age of 50 are encouraged to attend the informative meetings and join the local chapter.