AARP’s motto is “To serve and not to be served,” and they have been helping seniors since the organization’s inception in 1958. Over the years, it has grown and changed considerably in response to changes in society. The organization still remains true to its founding principles, which are to promote independence, dignity, and purpose for older persons. The organization also strives to enhance the quality of life for elders as well.

Virginia Baum of Brandon is the current President of the Greater Brandon Chapter of AARP, Inc. Baum attended her first AARP meeting in May of last year, after she retired from a civil service position at MacDill AFB. She has been involved with the chapter ever since. “AARP is dedicated to helping seniors by providing information and resources to improve their lives,” Baum said. “We provide a variety of guest speakers, fun activities, and events that are geared for seniors.” The group is the only active chapter in Hillsborough County and they welcome more seniors from Brandon and the surrounding areas to join their organization.

It is very easy for seniors to become a member of the chapter. All that is required to join the chapter is to be a current member of the national AARP organization. The chapter charges $5 for new members and the yearly dues are $10 which is collected in January through March. “As the president, I want to continue the tradition of providing exciting and informative events for our members,” Baum said. “This year, AARP will have events featuring education for seniors, gardening, health insurance, and safety.”

The group also partners with other community organizations to help seniors in the area. They recently formed a partnership with Emergency Care Health Organization (ECHO). “We found out that the number of seniors requiring assistance has increased,” Baum said. “Our board voted to make ECHO our major charity and we will continue to collect donations and provide financial support.” If you would like to learn more about the Greater Brandon Chapter of AARP, Inc. you can contact Baum at 654-2773. The chapter meets the first Monday of every month from September –May from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Brandon Community Center located at 502 E. Sadie St. During the summer months, the chapter holds monthly luncheons at local restaurants.


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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.