New York Resident Among First Graduates of AARP's Volunteer Leadership Institute

Jan 13, 2014, 15:16 ET from AARP New York

Sharon Lewis of New York City one of 23 honored in DC Ceremony

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2014  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A New Yorker is being groomed as one of the next generation of volunteer leaders for AARP.  Last week, Sharon Lewis of Manhattan graduated in the inaugural class of AARP's Volunteer Leadership Institute (VLI).  She was joined by 22 other exceptional volunteers from all across the country. 

VLI is a rigorous and innovative training opportunity launched by AARP in December 2012 to mobilize highly skilled and motivated AARP volunteers across the nation to the next level of volunteer leadership.  The first class met both in person and virtually over a 13-month period to build their leadership strengths in one of three chosen "tracks" – advocacy, community outreach or external

AARP is one of the leading volunteer organizations in the nation, with more than 55,000 active volunteers. 

"VLI is an investment in our volunteers – providing resources and opportunities for innovation to take volunteers with proven leadership ability to a new level.  I know of no other organization that has created this type of volunteer development experience," said Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President for AARP. "We have an ambitious social change agenda aimed at empowering people 50+ to enjoy the way they live and work today, while reaching their goals for tomorrow.  AARP is able to meet our goals by leveraging the talents, the skills, and the tenacity of our volunteers."

"Sharon has been a crucial part of AARP's work in New York, serving on our state volunteer-led executive council and working with staff and other volunteers to make New York a better place to live, work and age," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State.

The other VLI graduates have made early strides as well, taking on new responsibilities such as serving on committees and task forces, representing AARP as subject matter experts at events and conferences and reaching more than 11,000 people through speaking engagements.

AARP will host two VLI classes in 2014. 

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at