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Conducting a column in the Washington Daily News called “The Full Life,” for older people, 1956–57.
Public relations work for Armistead Gardens, a cooperative housing project in Baltimore, Md., 1956.
The above does not include work on a professional basis, but not for pay, such as the creating and operating the Washington Clearinghouse for Slum Clearance, Redevelopment, and Housing, an exchange of information between officials and citizens, 24 organized groups participating, 1948–57.
THE FRIENDLY SENIORS BYLAWS
(Adopted on April 28, 1959) 1. Name: The official name of this organization is the Friendly Seniors of All Souls Church (Unitarian), 16th and Harvard Streets NW., Washington, D.C.
2. Purpose: To make the later years happy years by sharing what we know and can do; by adding to our knowledge; by doing for each other what we can; by developing new interests; by following old interests which we always wanted to explore; by stimulating interest in social problems; and by encouraging friendly relations among members and guests. Specific talks on religion or politics are excluded from this purpose.
3. Membership: Membership is open to all men and women of the church and community of any race or religion who will carry out the purposes of the Friendly Seniors. Guests are welcome.
4. Officers: There will be three elective officers, a majority of whom must be members of this church. These officers are the general chairman, the first vice chairman, and the second vice chairman. Their duties shall be as follows:
(a) The general chairman will preside at all meetings, make announcements, and perform the usual functions of the presiding officer. He or she will make the formal appointments of the various committees, after consultation with the respective chairmen. The general chairman will also serve as the finance officer and will make a financial report to the whole group at a regular meeting before terminating office.
(6) The first vice chairman will be the chairman of the program committee. This committee will consist of five members, four of whom will be chosen by the first vice chairman with the advice and consent of the general chairman. The duties of this committee will be to plan and arrange programs at least 2 weeks in advance to allow for suitable publicity. Programs will consist of group singing and other musical features; talks on various subjects as history, geography, the arts, science, and social welfare; holiday celebrations; movies and still pictures, etc. Talks should not be longer than 20 minutes, followed by a discussion period of about 10 minutes. The same speaker or subject will not be repeated more often than once a month.
(c) The second vice chairman will be the chairman of the membership-hospitality committee. This committee will consist of five members, four of whom will be chosen by the second vice chairman with the advice and consent of the general chairman. The duties of this committee will be to keep the membership list current, with names, addresses, phone numbers, and month of birth; to secure names of guests and new members; to announce birthdays, illnesses; do visiting; receive luncheon fees; record reservations; assist with the arrangement and decoration of the tables and the seating and serving; and to aim to gain and hold members by making them welcome, and to make everybody happy by food and fellowship.
5. Term of office: (a) The three officers will be selected by the nominating committee and approved by majority vote from the floor. The term for each office will be 3 months, at the end of which time the general chairman will be succeeded by the first vice chairman, and the second vice chairman becomes the first vice chairman. The vacancy for second vice chairman will be filled at the first regular meeting in September, December, and March by election; and terms will begin in the following October, January, and April. Officers serving in June will continue to serve during the summer months of July, August and September, since the summer program is optional and always informal.
(b) Two coleaders of any desired additional group artivities such as arts and crafts can be selected by the executive committee. This can be done at any time, and their terms of office will be for 1 year.
(c) The outgoing general chairman will be eligible for reelection as second vice chairman after 1 year.
6. Executive committee: This committee will consist of three officers, and its duties will be to coordinate the various activities of the Friendly Seniors.
7. Nominating committee: This committee will consist of the three officers, plus two members to be elected from the floor by majority vote and for a term of 1 year. One of these two must be a member of this church.
8. Luncheon committee: This will be a committee of four or five volunteers who are church members, and each member will serve 1 week in each month. Their duties will be to assist in the preparation and serving of the luncheons.
9. Meetings: Regular meetings will be held every Tuesday from noon to about 4 p.m. First, luncheon will be served, the present fee being 35 cents. From about 12:45 to about 2:15 there will be a special program of speaking, music, movies, etc., after which will come games, discussion group, or other activity as the members desire. Decision as to continuing through the summer months of July, August, and September will be made by the membership in June. If such meetings are held, they will be informal, and without special speakers, and no warm food will be served.
10. Amendments: These bylaws can be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present at any regular meeting during the 9 months of regular meetings. Voting shall be by the raising of hands. Advance notice of 1 week at any regular meeting will be required, and full discussion will be allowed.
Senator McNAMARA. Would you care to summarize briefly?
Mrs. HOFFMAN. I will not say anything that has already been said today, but I have one special plea. I will tell you that as soon as I finish about the Friendly Seniors and I will not be but about a minute or two on that. That is the group which meets at All Souls Unitarian Church to share what they know and can do, to learn what they can, new things, to explore new ideas and to help each other where they can. Their history is in that statement and, if you care
. to hear more about it, you can read it there.
I want to make an appeal for the interim people. They are the people who are neither one thing nor another. They have not had any social security, although they have contributed much to our social life. The problem with them is that the pattern of their work, and particularly as self-employed people, does not fit the present regulations of social security.
I will give you one story and then make an appeal to you that you find a way to help these people.
Mary Smith taught in a university in Iowa which at that time had no pension fund, but now it has. She came east and started teaching in Maryland. She was just a little over the line and she was not able to come under their pension fund. She worked a while and then she became a tutor for the children of diplomats. They paid by cash and kept no records. She kept a record and that was good, and then she also taught recruits in the Navy, which at that time had no social security benefits. She was paid $3.75 an hour for her work. She is a very highly educated woman.
When I took her to one of the officials of the social security to see if all of this record would not at least provide her with the minimum of social security, all the redtape that had to be gone through was such that she could not get any social security whatever. Her savings are going fast. She is now about 79, with a brilliant mind, and years of work ahead, but it is very difficult to live on what she has left of her savings.
Mary Smith is not exceptional. I was one of them myself. After many years of service, I missed out all around until I made a study of the health and welfare funds of the labor unions in the building and construction trades and that enabled me to get almost the minimum social security. Of course, I am no longer what you might call an interim. I do not know how many people there are like this, but there are a great many. I come across them constantly, people who are not able to get social security in spite of the fact that they have many years of fine service behind them and in spite of the fact that they may even now be self-employed like Mary Smith.
I say to you: Do something about them. There will not be very many very long. They will all be dead. Everybody will be under social security before very long. These people will never get it unless you do something about it.
Thank you for this opportunity to talk to you. Older people do not get much chance.
Senator McNAMARA. Thank you very much.
We appreciate that and we are sure that your statement, plus your remarks, will be very helpful.
Mrs. HOFFMAN. Thank you.
(Whereupon, at 12:40 p.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, August 5, 1959.)
NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN THE FIELD OF AGING
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5, 1959
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 4232, New Senate Office Building, Senator Pat McNamara (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senators McNamara (presiding), Clark, and Randolph.
Subcommittee staff members present: Sidney Spector, staff director, and Dr. Harold Sheppard, research director.
Committee staff member present: Stewart E. McClure, chief clerk; and Raymond D. Hurley, minority professional staff member.
Senator McNAMARA. The hearing will be in order.
STATEMENT OF DR. ETHEL PERCY ANDRUS, PRESIDENT; ACCOM
PANIED BY MRS. RUTH LANA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, AND LEONARD DAVIS, BUSINESS ADVISER, NATIONAL RETIRED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION AND AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PERSONS
Senator McNAMARA. This morning I would like to hear from the American Association of Retired Persons, Dr. Ethel Andrus, president, as the first witness.
Good morning, Doctor.
Senator McNAMARA. I see you have a lengthy statement. I understand that you would like to have it filed for the record and summarize that portion that you wish. Does that suit you?
Dr. ANDRUS. Yes.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ETHEL PERCY ANDRUS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RETIRED
TEACHERS ASSOCIATION AND AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PERSONS May I tell you my thanks for the opportunity to report the activities, accomplishments, and plans of our two associations, the National Retired Teachers Association, and the American Association of Retired Persons?
First, may I tell you something of our organizations and the concrete, tangible, affirmative steps it has taken in the field of aging? In 1947, the National Retired Teachers Association was a dream, but its purpose and its goals were very real. Without subsidy, but with an annual membership dues of $1, without pleas for financial aid of any kind, but with a journal of dignity and distinction; it now numbers 100,000 of the 175,000 retired teachers of the Nation.
In those days of sudden retirement enforcement and meager retirement income, the NRTA was founded on the conviction (1) that the old were not discarded; they were not yet discovered ; and (2) that lawmakers are not calloused;
they may be uninformed. In the various State legislatures, we found them grateful, much disturbed, and most helpful. The results have been gratifying. Retirement income throughout the States have been liberalized. Much still needs to be done, particularly in rural areas and in the Deep South.
When we turned to seek equitable relief in Federal income tax reports, NRTA spearheaded the campaign. In conjunction with civil service employees, it found success in the $240 tax credit, which still is regrettably below that granted other recipients. The vehicle used was the NRTA Journal, challenging old age to a future of activity and usefulness.
OTHER SHORTAGES PRESSED FOR ATTENTION-HOUSING
The need to help in the problem of housing came to us early. Our requests for help from two national philanthropic foundations were refused; they were interested in the young and the foreign born; the aged had not yet awakened their interest. Left to our own resources, we built a pilot retirement residence, unique in its being financed, administered and operated by the retired for the retired, on a life lease and monthly rate basis. We built a pilot project, Grey Gables in Ojai, Calif., now valued at $114 million, the proud and beautiful home of 82 men and women from places as remote as the Bahamas and Hawaii, this without subsidy or foundation aid or any other contribution. It has merited from the city council of Ojai a commendation for the contributions it and its residents have made to the beauty, the social value, and the efficiency of the city and its many civic activities.
This housing venture we realized served only a few—a favored few—but for the greater group, the driving force from the inception of NRTA, was the need of insurance as health protection.
For 5 years, I visited and I was refused by 42 insurance companies. Protection for the retired could not be initiated except at an exorbitant rate; it was often terminated at retirement, and, if continued, it was subject to a greater premium and smaller benefits.
In 1954, there came the first breakthrough for group insurance coverage, granted the N.Y. State Retired Teachers Association—this without the insurer's right to terminate, with no age requirement, and with present physical conditions accepted. In 1955, NRTA expanded this service into the first national coverage ever offered. It has since aided the National Retired Association of Civil Employees and the Emeritus Census, to a similar benefit. There has followed, as you know, a whole host of commercial imitators, and for the people being served we are grateful. At the time of gaining this service, we offered to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the sponsorship of this program.
Over the years, we have developed other special services for our people. We have opened and are maintaining a year-round reception center in St. Petersburg. We have provided European group travel at a modest nonprofit rate. Six hundred retired folk have in this fashion realized a lifelong ambition for a trip abroad. We are offering a drug service at cost, again a nonprofit venture, with a minimum of 25 percent reduction from the usual rates. We are sponsoring, as a major project, voluntary help as aides in the Veterans' Administration volunteer program; we are organizing a program of thoughtful exploration and devoted service in connection with the White House Conference on Aging and its forthcoming meeting in 1961. Our forum at St. Petersburg in this connection, planning for the participation of 2,500 members, is scheduled for the week of January 18, 1960.
THE FOUNDING OF AARP
These services grew with the growth of the society as the needs arose. Then came another challenge. Thousands of letters kept coming from NRTA members not satisfied that these services were not available to their relatives and friends of older years. If we served them it must needs be through another association. We realized the inherent danger in such an organization. Fifteen