A Recipe for Success: Cookies and Second Chances

Mary Jane Ward is receiving a very special present on her 55th birthday — a graduation certificate from Together We Bake (TWB), a nonprofit that teaches life and culinary skills to women who need a second chance. Once homeless and despondent over her future, Ward is excited to see where her new skills in baking, food safety and customer service, along with her ServSafe certification, will take her. All 12 women who started  the eight-week course completed it, and about 75 …

Six Groups Honored for Reaching Out to Help Others

I had the honor of speaking at the AARP North Carolina State Office Multicultural Outreach Awards Dinner on May 21 at the historic International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C. The event celebrated the contributions of six organizations that are giving “the most” to improve the quality of life for North Carolinians. I was moved by the commitment and monumental work each of the six organizations is doing to make a difference in the lives they serve. During …

Journeys From Prison to Productivity

For me, beautiful fall Saturday mornings are meant for open air markets, bike rides and hikes. For Abed Commey, 55, they mean teaching computer skills to female ex-offenders at Friends of Guest House. FOGH is a nonprofit that helps women transition from incarceration back into the community by giving them temporary housing, vocational training, counseling and long-term support. >> Find Volunteer Opportunities at Create the Good This particular Saturday, I decide to see things Commey’s way. We join an eclectic …

Celebrating All Volunteers

AARP is pleased to celebrate National Volunteer Week, an annual opportunity to step back and recognize the hardworking volunteers who dedicate their time, talents and passions to improving every corner of this great nation. While it’s easy to get caught up in statistics – more than 60 million volunteers, more than 7 billion hours of service – it’s the “good” behind those numbers that is truly awesome. At AARP, we couldn’t achieve our mission to improve aging in America without …

Helping Chronically Ill People Made Simple

Simple is better, many people say. Sarah LaFave certainly took a simple idea and transformed it into something that makes life better for lots of folks. She connects energetic college students with people who are chronically ill and need help with everyday chores. Discussion: Where do you go to get some extra help? Genius, huh? LaFave launched her program, Lori’s Hands, while a nursing student at the University of Delaware in Newark in 2009. “There’s no trick to it, nothing complicated about …