If you are a retired person looking to give back to your community, there are many ways to get involved. Whether you are interested in AARP’s national office, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, or AARP Driver Safety, there are many ways to volunteer with AARP.
AARP’s national office
The AARP national office has many volunteer opportunities for those interested in helping people in need. These opportunities range from supporting veterans to combating scams to helping older adults live their best lives. Volunteers can take on these roles from the comfort of their own homes and can use their skills to make a difference in their communities.
The AARP Foundation Experience Corps is an intergenerational tutoring program that engages older adults in their communities by providing free tutoring and mentoring for elementary school students. The volunteers provide 6 to 15 hours of assistance per week to children who may not otherwise get the help they need. Through their work, these volunteers can improve their students’ critical literacy skills by up to 60 percent.
Volunteers are needed for special events, communications, government relations, special projects, and much more. They also assist with various community programs and projects, including the Compeer Program and the Kids on the Block puppet show. You can even adopt a section to give back to your community.
AARP has several volunteer programs for the elderly and people with disabilities. Volunteers can teach classes, serve meals, tutor or mentor others. There are also many opportunities for youth volunteers. Youth volunteers can help with service learning, assist with the lunch program, assist with special events, or work with active older adults through fitness programs.
Volunteers can also help in the national service program, AmeriCorps. These programs help improve lives and promote civic engagement. They also give older adults the opportunity to focus on their own self-care. For over 40 years, volunteers have been teaching older drivers proven safety strategies and driving more safely.
AARP also provides strong support to its AARP Foundation. This nonprofit helps older adults with disabilities become economically independent and socially connected. For example, it launched AARP Community Connections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and served more than 470,000 individuals in its first five months of operation. Most recently, the organization has started a national initiative to build free fitness parks for seniors in all 50 states. The goal is to build at least 25 of these parks by August 2020.
Volunteering with the AARP can be a meaningful way to fill time in your retirement. The act of giving time to others keeps seniors engaged in social life and keeps their mind active. It can even become a motivation to get out of bed. The AARP national office offers several volunteer opportunities throughout the country.
Volunteers can help with tax preparation. Many elders have experience with this task, and can help other people with the process. In addition to these opportunities, elders can also assist with community centers or local businesses. This can be a rewarding opportunity and will help the elderly age well.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program provides volunteers with the opportunity to prepare and file tax returns for seniors. Volunteers are required to attend training classes and complete workbooks. They also interact with other volunteers in their district. All tax returns will receive a quality review by a second IRS-certified volunteer.
Volunteers can choose to provide assistance either in-person or virtually. Depending on their availability, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide services are offered in many locations throughout the United States. Volunteers will assist older taxpayers by helping them organize their paperwork and explaining the tax prep process. This service relieves the stress and hassle of tax season for older adults on a low income.
Taxpaying seniors can help prepare and file their tax returns for free through the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program in Hot Springs Village. Volunteers are not required to be AARP members, and do not need to be retired. Volunteers in Garland County helped more than 3,000 people last year. The Garland County Library and the McAuley Senior Center host AARP Foundation Tax-Aide programs.
Volunteers must follow the guidelines set forth by AARP and the IRS regarding tax assistance. As long as they do not violate the guidelines outlined in the Tax Counseling for the Elderly guidelines, they are not required to provide personal information about themselves. However, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers should provide their tax assistance expenses in quarterly expense statements. For example, expenses for April to June should be submitted by June 30. If an expense is not submitted by the deadline, it will not be considered for reimbursement.
If you have a laptop, you may want to consider installing a wireless network. If you have two or more computers, consider wired networking. This allows you to securely share information. However, desktop computers cannot be wirelessly networked. If you plan to use a desktop computer to work with tax-related data, a wired network is best.
Volunteers may have a wide range of skills and experience. Some prepare returns, while others assist taxpayers in finding credits or refunds. Other positions involve greeting taxpayers, handling appointments, organizing paperwork, and managing overall flow of service. Other tasks include helping clients use computers, and assisting with the administration of office equipment. Other skills may be helpful, such as being bilingual or interpreting.
Volunteers are needed to assist low-income individuals prepare and file their taxes. Volunteers may fill out the forms, enter tax information, and help with marketing. In some cases, volunteers can work with older taxpayers. Volunteers are not liable for mistakes they make. You are not required to have any professional tax training to serve as a volunteer.
Volunteers should be sensitive to taxpayer privacy and confidentiality. They should conduct conversations discreetly and avoid using personal taxpayer information in areas where others can read them. When they leave the work area, they should minimize their computer screens or close them. If they suspect that the confidentiality of a taxpayer is violated, they should report it immediately.
AARP Driver Safety
If you enjoy driving and want to make a difference, there are several AARP Driver Safety volunteer opportunities in your area. You can participate in state-wide events and help AARP promote driver safety in your community. AARP Driver Safety coordinators are state-level leaders who recruit volunteers and manage volunteer records. They also participate in state-wide events and assist in online systems. Facilitators teach free seminars such as We Need to Talk.
AARP Driver Safety volunteer positions are unpaid, but you will be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses. You will receive a certificate of completion that can be used to get discounts from your insurance company. To be a volunteer, you must be at least 21 years of age and have some experience teaching or facilitating. In addition, you should be fluent in English and have a positive attitude toward learning. You should also be comfortable with various demographics and have a passion for driver safety.
AARP Driver Safety offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, including teaching the AARP Smart Driver course. Successful completion of the course qualifies you for multi-year auto insurance discounts. By educating others on the importance of driving safely, you can save yourself and your family more than just money.