Southwest Fort Worth AARP
Southwest Fort Worth AARP Chapter 4116, Inc.
Thirty Years Enlightening & Improving the Lives of Fort Worth Seniors In 1986, Col. George K. Miller, Assistant State Director of AARP, approached Rev. Richard G. Penna, Senior Minister at Genesis United Methodist Church, to make the church’s facilities available to “organize the senior population into an active, participating component of the community.” Pastor Penna and the church’s Older Adult Coordinator Jack Latham wrote a letter inviting “seniors” to form such a group. Genesis’ administrative board agreed to provide space for the informational meeting and all subsequent meetings. National AARP granted the Chapter’s charter the following year.
Founders built the Chapter on a desire to promote fellowship, foster equality of opportunity for older Americans, encourage continued growth and development, build self-respect, self-confidence and usefulness; advance Seniors’ participation in contemporary life, and stimulate a dynamic public interest in the aging population with recognition of the potential of this group. Advocacy and engagement in meaningful community service activities were also primary goals. Twenty seven years later, theses goals still guide the activities for Southwest Fort Worth AARP Chapter 4116 as it provides educational, advocacy, service, and fellowship opportunities to people age 50 and over in the Southwest Fort Worth area.
Outstanding leaders have directed the organization’s activities to make it an increasingly dominant force in the area’s senior community. However, it has been and continues to be, the collaboration of dedicated members who have furthered this position.
The Chapter consists of dynamic, involved citizens. Individuals attend monthly meetings to learn about topics vital to their interests and well-being. Members volunteer in their churches, with multiple social organizations, and help contemporaries through the AARP Tax Aide and Driver Safety programs. Some remain active in local, state, and national political advocacy. Others take part in AARP at the area and state levels as advocates on some national AARP identified priorities. Still others are involved with neighborhood, political, and civic organizations; some teach classes for seniors at Tarrant County College and in their churches. Others expand their knowledge through TCC senior education classes, attendance at concerts and art exhibits, and group travel. The Chapter has enjoyed many successes and has been cited on numerous occasions as one of the best Chapters in the State of Texas, but more importantly, Chapter 4116 has done great good for the people of Fort Worth.
Members contribute thousands of hours of volunteer service to hospitals, non-profit agencies, churches, neighborhood associations, national organizations, and other social service organizations. Through the years, this committed membership has collected food and notions for Women’s Haven, the Presbyterian Night Shelter, the Women’s Center, and Tarrant Area Food Bank. Today it collects school supplies for needy children in selected area schools and food for the Neighborhood Food Bank. For the annual National Day of Service, members have painted walls, stocked clothing closets, and worked in various capacities with local non-profit agencies serving aged seniors and at-risk children. A non-partisan group, Chapter members work diligently to remind elected officials at the local, state, and national level that improving lives and protecting rights of citizens—both young and old—is what they are elected to do. However, the Chapter remains strictly bi-partisan.