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Published on October 21st, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Retired Educators Win National Award for Community Service to Local Youth

Pictured above from left; Linda Pearson, President, The SCEA-Retired and Bess Alston, Immediate Past President, The SCEA-Retired, and a presenter from the AARP.

COLUMBIA, SC – Retirement has not stopped educators in South Carolina from enhancing the lives of youth and the broader community. The South Carolina Education Association-Retired (SCEA-R) has won the 2014 NRTA With Our Youth! Excellence Award, in the state category, for its Showers of Scholars (S.O.S.) Program. Through this volunteer program, retired educators provide a lifeline of scholarships, supplies, and other support to students, teachers, and schools across the state.

“South Carolina’s retired educators embody the spirit of the NRTA With Our Youth! Award,” said Dara Dann, Vice President for NRTA: AARP’s Educator Community. “Across the state, retired educators remain a positive and active force in the schools by funding scholarships and supplies, mentoring teachers, and tutoring students. Their continued service in retirement is evidence that these educators are lifelong public servants who never stop putting their skills and passion to work. NRTA is deeply grateful for their contributions, and we are honored to shine a light on the accomplishments of these retirees with the 2014 NRTA With Our Youth! State Excellence Award.”

The SCEA-R S.O.S. Program provides far-reaching support throughout the state’s public school system.

“More than 34,000 students have been served, and retired educators have logged nearly 3,300 hours of service,” The SCEA-R President Linda Pearson said. “These committed volunteers remain woven into the fabric of the schools – reading to students, administering tests, tutoring in all subjects, organizing Black History Month programs, and providing supplies and meals. SCEA-R also established the J.P. Coates Scholarship Program to provide $500 scholarships each semester to future educators enrolled in state colleges and universities. Currently, the program supports four students who are studying education and maintaining a B grade average.”

“Our founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, was a retired educator when she discovered a former colleague literally living in a chicken coop. Ms. Andrus vowed to spend her retirement helping to make the retirement of other educators more secure,” AARP State Director Teresa Arnold said. “It is clear from this award that the South Carolina retired educators volunteering with Showers of Scholars are upholding AARP’s 58-year commitment to positive social change. We are grateful for our folks in South Carolina to be recognized in this way.”

NRTA: AARP’s Educator Community creates real possibilities to strengthen America’s working and retired education community by protecting their financial security and fostering collaboration and volunteerism. Founded in 1947 by retired educator Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, NRTA has a membership of more than one million active and retired higher-ed and K-12 educators and school personnel at the local, state and national levels. The NRTA network includes a national office in Washington, D.C., 52 state and city associations, and more than 2,700 local associations. More information is available at www.aarp.org/about-aarp/nrta/.

The NRTA With Our Youth! Program was established by NRTA to provide opportunities for retired educators and youth to work together to address the needs of youth and the broader community. State and local retired educators association (REA) volunteers use the resources provided by NRTA to organize local self-sustaining service projects. In 1997, NRTA made a three-year pledge at the President’s Summit for America’s Future to serve 1.5 million youth in 2,000 communities with a total of 45 million service hours through the REAs. That goal was exceeded, and the program continues today. Each year, the organization provides national NRTA With Our Youth! volunteer awards to recognize outstanding work of state and local REAs, as well as individual volunteers.

More information is available at www.aarp.org/about-aarp/nrta/.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 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; www.aarp.org; 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. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

The South Carolina Education Association is the state’s oldest and most powerful professional association for educators and the leading advocate for quality public education in South Carolina. Learn more at www.thescea.org.

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