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Celebrities descend on Atlanta for AARP event
by Bobby Tedder
October 06, 2013 08:52 PM | 2684 views | 1 1 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo / David Walter Banks
(L-R) NFL great Dan Marino, Raul Mendoza, Harvey Archer and William Graham paint benches at the George Washington Carver Boys & Girls Club in Atlanta's Kirkwood neighborhood as part of the AARP Life@50+ Community Service Day.
Special Photo / David Walter Banks (L-R) NFL great Dan Marino, Raul Mendoza, Harvey Archer and William Graham paint benches at the George Washington Carver Boys & Girls Club in Atlanta's Kirkwood neighborhood as part of the AARP Life@50+ Community Service Day.
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AARP’s annual national Life@50+ event and expo swept through the metro Atlanta area aided by trade winds of fanfare and goodwill Thursday through Saturday at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.

Life@50+ represents the entity’s multi-faceted bid to usher in a new chapter in the lives of its constituents while being of service to communities.

“This is really a celebration of you … of all the real possibilities,” AARP Chief Executive A. Barry Rand told an assembly of scores of members at the Day 2 morning session.

That theme played out via a full slate of festivities and activities — with the center serving as home base — that drew about 10,000 over the three-day period.

Attendees having aged past the half-century mark were greeted by scheduled appearances of luminaries at virtually every turn.

Pro football legend Dan Marino and noted TV personality James “J.B.” Brown led several hundred volunteers in the 2013 conference’s signature kick-off event, the Atlanta Community Day of Service.

“It’s a great satisfying day for a lot of people and it’s good to be a part of it,” said Marino.

The AARP contingent undertook more than a dozen volunteer projects across the city, including home and school makeovers, senior community center revitalization efforts and arts projects among other endeavors.

“It’s not only about helping the community. … It also gets the members together for a common cause, which is helping other people,” Marino said. “It’s something they can build on. … People from different parts of the country get together to help people.

“It’s special from that standpoint — where you can make a difference in other people’s lives and be a part of something that grows with other people in different communities.”

Other celebrity speakers and experts engaged attendees on an array of topics such as health, finances and relationships throughout the conferences run. Nightly events and entertainment, including a Gloria Estefan concert, rounded out the agenda.

A frank, far-reaching conversation between famed actress Whoopi Goldberg and Atlanta-based media mogul Tyler Perry was yet another Life@50+ highlight.

Perry, 44, said he relished the opportunity to appear at the behest of AARP.

“I get a lot of offers to do a lot of things, [but] this was just so appealing to me, Perry said. “In your 20s you think you know it all. In your 30s you figure out you don’t. In your 40s, a light comes on … and around 50 is when you really start to settle in.

“One of my best friends is 70 years old. I celebrate age … I want to soak up as much good energy and as much knowledge from everybody that I can.”
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October 07, 2013
I volunteered at the event. I arrived early (6:30 a.m.) and stayed all day. It was most enjoyable and enlightening. I met a lot of people from many states. It was announced that all 50 states were represented. A lot of vendors were on hand to provide a lot of useful information and advice to the seniors in attendance.

All of the volunteers, AARP staff and the Georgia World Congress Center employees were most hospitable. The southern charm was evident at this event. I am looking forward to attending next year!
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