and friends about world poverty by
hosting a party for CARE, which fights
the problem by focusing on women,
the central force for change in the
world’s poorest communities. Request
a free I Am Powerful Action Kit DVD,
and learn what you can do. •Time it takes Less than a week. •Contact CARE (800-422-7385; care.org).
Advocate for a child •How it works Become a court- appointed advocate for abused and
neglected children through the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. •Time it takes Thirty hours of train- ing to become a volunteer, then 10 to
20 hours a month for the estimated
18-month length of the child’s case. •Contact CASA (800-628-3233; na tionalcasa.org).
The second lady helps out at a Washington, D.C., food bank.
Welcome a refugee •How it works Help refugees feel at home in the United States after
leaving war-torn areas such as Darfur
and Iraq. Provide help—with résumé
writing, learning basic English, looking for jobs—or run errands together
until they get adjusted. •Time it takes As much as you are willing to commit. •Contact The International Rescue Committee ( theirc.org).
Jill Biden’s “Acts of Kindess”
Last spring President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion bill that,
among other things, provides stipends and scholarships to citizens
over 55 who contribute their skills and time to communities in need.
Among the proud onlookers: Jill Biden, Ph.D., 58, wife of Vice President Joe Biden. An English professor at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Virginia, and the mother of a son serving
in Iraq, Biden has emerged, along with First Lady Michelle Obama,
as one of the more visible and enthusiastic foot soldiers for the
White House in its campaign to encourage Americans to give back.
She talked recently with AARP THE MAGAZINE’s Marilyn Milloy.
Share your hair •How it works Grow your hair so you have six inches or more to spare;
next, tie it in a ponytail, cut it off, and
donate it. The hair is used to make free
wigs for children and adults coping
with cancer, alopecia, or scalp burns. •Time it takes Depends on how long it takes to grow your hair. •Contact Pink Heart Funds (866- 757-7465; pinkheartfunds.com).
Michelle Diament is a freelance writer
based in Memphis.
Additional reporting for these articles by
Marie Cocco, Mary Ann French, Lindsey
Hollenbaugh, and Derrick Z. Jackson.
Q: Do you see yourself reshaping the public image of the second
lady, bringing her out from the shadows? I won’t call it a bully
A: But it is! I’ve been handed a platform—and shame on me if I waste
that. I’ve talked to so many women who have been victims of abuse,
to military families who are struggling financially and emotionally,
to spouses of soldiers who have PTSD [posttraumatic stress disor-der]. I hear story after story after story, and so I am not going to sit
closeted in the residence. I would much rather be at a service event
doing something than sitting in a luncheon somewhere.
Q: You have a long personal history of service.
A: Service is a thread that has run through my life. I started the Biden
Breast Health Initiative to help educate young women. I was on the
board of the Ronald McDonald House for years. When [Hurricane]
Katrina occurred, Joe and I happened to be in Italy, and I said to
him, “When we go home, I’m going to Louisiana. No questions, I’m
going.” And I did. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 73)