Tales of volunteering always inspire - people giving of themselves to benefit others and asking nothing in return - and all volunteers deserve recognition for their service. But people who make giving back a central focus of their lives deserve special celebration. That's why AARP Create The Good, in partnership with AARP Visa Card from Chase, is honored to announce that T.R. Ellis is the winner of Create The Good's "Be Inspired" contest for his story on how he and his wife Dee help needy families in and around Tucson, Ariz.
T.R. volunteers with Aviva Children's Services, a Tucson-based nonprofit that provides support services to children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or poverty. Every year, Ellis asks Aviva to assign him the organization's largest family so that he can maximize the good he and Dee can do through Aviva. T.R. delivers gifts for the entire family on Christmas Eve and then brings gifts for each family member on his or her birthday throughout the year. Dee uses her knitting skills to make many of those gifts.
T.R. has fostered his giving spirit for decades. As an elementary school principal in Indiana, he used to give anonymous birthday gifts to needy children at the school. He also keeps a "loose change" jar at home, and every time it fills up he carries on his next drive through town and gives the $15 to $20 in coins to the first needy person he sees.
Ellis was chosen by Create The Good members from among 5 volunteers, all of whom were nominated for their inspiring stories of volunteerism. Their giving back efforts range from feeding the hungry and helping hurricane victims to building character in children and giving cancer survivors hope.
To honor Ellis' work, AARP Visa Card Services from Chase will donate $21,000 to Aviva.
To hear T.R. and Dee tell their own story - and for stories from other compelling volunteers - visit http://www.aarp.org/giving-back/volunteering/straight_from_the_heart/. And, as always, share your volunteer stories, and you thoughts on others' service, with us here!
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