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CFO Sink, AARP Join Other Groups to ‘create the Good,’ Help Neighbors, Communities Prepare for 2009 Storms

5/26/2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2009
Contact: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842
 
CFO SINK, AARP JOIN OTHER GROUPS TO ‘CREATE THE GOOD,’ HELP NEIGHBORS, COMMUNITIES PREPARE FOR 2009 STORMS
 
CFO Alex Sink joins AARP, state agency leaders, volunteer organizations and elder advocates in new Create The Good/Operation Hurricane Prepare initiative
 
TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO Alex Sink and AARP Florida State Director Lori Parham today joined state agency leaders, elder advocates and volunteer organizations in announcing a new initiative, Create The Good/Operation Hurricane Prepare, to encourage Floridians to help neighbors and communities get ready for the 2009 hurricane season.   
 
“All Floridians should be prepared as we approach hurricane season,” CFO Sink said.  “I commend AARP’s new Operation Hurricane Prepare initiative.  It is intended to empower millions of AARP members and other Floridians to strengthen not only their personal preparedness but that of their neighbors and communities.”
 
Among those present to endorse the new initiative at Tuesday’s Capitol news conference were CFO Sink; Parham; Florida Elder Affairs Secretary E. Douglas Beach; David Lynn, president of the Florida Council on Aging; and Alex Amparo, director of emergency services for Gov. Charlie Crist’s Commission on Volunteerism (Volunteer Florida). 
 
“AARP’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, challenged Americans to ‘to live up to our better selves, to believe well of our fellow men and perhaps by doing so to help create the good, to experiment, to explore, to change and to grow’,” Parham said.  “In this inspiring spirit, AARP is reaching out to our 3 million members and all Floridians to engage their neighbors and their communities in preparing for the 2009 hurricane season.  As the 2009 hurricane season begins, we hope Operation Hurricane Prepare will persuade many Floridians to help make their communities stronger and better prepared.”
 
Operation Hurricane Prepare (www.aarp.org/hurricaneprepare ) begins with a Web site created within the Create The Good initiative targeted to AARP members and Americans of all generations living along the Gulf and South Atlantic Coasts.  Online resources at the site offer step-by-step instructions in English and Spanish to help coastal residents prepare for hurricane season.
 
AARP is also reaching out to nearly 8,000 neighborhood and community associations, local government organizations, disaster-preparedness officials and others to share information about Create The Good/Operation Hurricane Prepare.  AARP also is publicizing the initiative through AARP Bulletin, which reaches about 2.3 million AARP members in Florida alone, plus outreach to AARP members in other Gulf and South Atlantic states.  Every Florida legislator will receive information on the initiative, as will local governments, business groups and other organizations.  Later in 2009, AARP plans additional national efforts to promote the Create The Good initiative.
 
“Florida’s elders have always been resilient, but sometimes they can use a helping hand. It’s critical that as good neighbors, we assist those who might not be able to prepare for a disaster. We must all be ready to help our neighbors and ourselves, if and when that time comes,” said Elder Affairs Secretary Beach.
 
Beach noted that AARP’s initiative augments the department’s Disaster Preparedness Guide for Elders, a 24-page tabloid publication containing numerous tips to help seniors prepare for and respond to a wide range of emergencies. Some 240,000 copies of the guide were distributed this month, and it is also available online at http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/english/disasterguide/2009.pdf.
 
Whether coastal residents have five minutes, five hours or longer, Create The Good/Operation Hurricane Prepare offers ways to engage:
 
- Get involved individually.  At www.aarp.org/hurricaneprepare, viewers will find step-by-step instructions to help friends, neighbors, loved ones or others in their communities prepare.  The same materials can help Floridians improve their own preparedness, as well.
- Lead a group activity.  At www.aarp.org/hurricaneprepare, viewers will find ideas for organizing group functions that you and your neighbors can do together. 
- Post an opportunity to give back.  If someone in your neighborhood or community would like to connect with fellow Floridians interested in giving back, AARP can help.  Go to www.createthegood.org and look for “Post an Opportunity.”  Submit your organization’s opportunity – that’s all you have to do.  It’s free, quick and easy.
 
“This initiative has real potential to have an impact,” Parham noted.  “In Virginia, an initiative focused on winter home weatherization in 2008 engaged 20,000 people and made a significant difference in the lives of many more.”
In Florida, Operation Hurricane Prepare will be the first Create The Good initiative, but the Association will continue to promote the resource for a broad range of community-engagement initiatives, Parham noted.