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Burlington, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Bringing resident insight and volunteer power into local government

Description: To equip recent immigrants with skills to become more civically active, this project held trainings on how to engage with government officials. The Vermont New American Advisory Council partnered with the Association of Africans Living in Vermont to host a town hall, which focused on how local and federal government works. Participants included newcomers to the U.S., including former refugees, who learned effective ways to contact lawmakers and ask for their assistance. The nonprofits recorded the virtual town hall -- as well as short testimonials from participants -- so they can publish videos online to reach a wider audience. Project organizers say the training expanded access to people who are otherwise left out of important conversations due to language and cultural barriers.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Salt Lake City, UT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Engaging people in transportation options/safety

Description: The Transit Together initiative invited residents at two low-income, older adult communities to use public transit to get to the grocery store. Over the course of three weeks, project organizers assisted groups of older adults -- including those with mobility issues -- as they navigated the Trax light rail system's routes and fare collection system. To help them run errands via transit, the County Aging and Adult Services office offered each participant a grocery caddy and a monthly senior transit pass. At the end of the program, 22 out of 32 participants reported they would use public transit in the future. In addition, several volunteer-resident pairs planned to continue making grocery trips together. Project organizers report that other service providers throughout Utah have since reached out to find out how they can implement similar educational programs in their communities.

Salt Lake City, UT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Salt Lake City's Taylorsville neighborhood is home to refugee families from Syria, Myanmar and Afghanistan. Many new residents, however, struggle with social isolation. To help people feel connected, Salt Lake County created a community garden at the local senior center. Volunteers built four raised beds and the County provided ergonomic gardening equipment, seeds and starter plants. Project organizers say the opportunity to garden gives older adults -- who were often farmers and ranchers in their native countries -- a renewed sense of purpose. Gardening also allows them to form relationships with their neighbors.

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