NEW YORK — Cities of Service today announced six U.S. cities will participate in its new Cities of Service Experience Matters program. With support from AARP, Cities of Service will work with the cities to develop volunteering initiatives that address public problems related to the drivers of poverty. Each city will focus on engaging residents 50 and older in program implementation.
“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with AARP through the launch of this new Experience Matters program,” said Myung J. Lee, Cities of Service Executive Director. “Our expertise helping cities engage volunteers combined with AARP’s experience working with adults age 50 and older will allow these cities to have a significant impact on the issues they are facing related to poverty.”
The winning cities are Albuquerque, New Mexico; Birmingham, Alabama; Columbia, South Carolina; Fort Worth, Texas; Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Each city will receive $25,000, technical assistance, and two full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members based in city hall who will build capacity and raise awareness for the initiatives.
“Based on AARP’s work in hundreds of communities nationwide, we know that older adults can bring tremendous value to the places they live,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “This partnership with Cities of Service and the programs in these cities will not only enhance the quality of life for residents of all ages but will also demonstrate the results that cities can see when they tap the experience and expertise of people 50-plus.”
In Birmingham and Saint Paul, volunteers will help cities and fellow residents with minor home and property repairs to address property code violations and increase energy efficiency. Albuquerque volunteers will support literacy development and academic achievement in the city’s public schools and early childhood learning centers. In Tulsa, the city will work with adults with limited incomes to increase their financial resilience through self‐employment. In Fort Worth, resident volunteers will provide education to low-income families on topics including financial health, managing credit and debt, and the dangers of predatory financial services. The city of Columbia will expand youth mentorship opportunities to improve academic participation and performance.
In addition to funding and technical assistance throughout the duration of the program, Cities of Service and AARP will provide support in recruitment and selection of AmeriCorps VISTA members, pre-program training to ensure fidelity to Cities of Service’s proven citizen engagement model, project design assistance customized to each city, expert and peer learning opportunities through site visits and convenings, and promotion of projects to encourage replication of best practices.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.