SEATTLE - Doctors at the fictitious Seattle hospital on
"Grey's Anatomy" want you to do it and so do the "Desperate Housewives"
of Wisteria Lane. Last week's prime-time television lineup featured
volunteerism as the theme of many of the shows. This week, AARP Washington
wants to keep the message top-of-mind.
Jason Erskine, communications director for AARP Washington
says a new web site, "Create The Good," is simple to use and can help
people find ways to volunteer in their area. And, he adds, in
Washington there's plenty to be done.
"The impacts of the state budget cuts are far and wide, and what we've
found is that with the corresponding loss of public services, people
are in need like never before. So we're encouraging people to find just
a little bit of time to give back."
Around the country, Erskine says AARP
has more than 9 million volunteers, donors and activists involved in community service.
One major volunteer effort coming up is "Tax Aid," the free
tax-preparation service for low-income and older adults. Erskine says
last year, more than 1,200 volunteers across the state helped file
84,000 tax returns.
"Volunteers do not need to be an AARP
member or a retiree
to participate in Tax Aid. In cooperation with the Internal Revenue
Service, people receive training before becoming a volunteer, and
they're reimbursed on a limited basis for expenses."
Volunteer opportunities are listed by zip code on the web site, www.CreateTheGood.org
. It also offers information about how people can start their own service projects.