Milwaukee resident, Valerie Langston, has been chosen by AARP to receive the 2020 AARP Wisconsin Andrus Award for Community Service.
The Andrus Award is the most prestigious and visible state award for community service.
“This award honors Valerie’s tireless commitment to making life better for those around her,” said AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson. “Through her volunteer service as a community organizer and activist who works tirelessly for the betterment of her neighborhood, Valerie has built up the trust, influence, and respect it takes to accomplish great things in her community. She is an inspiration to us all.”
Langston is a resident of the Merrill Park/ Hilltopper neighborhood and has dedicated her time to creating a safe and welcoming community.
Langston is the co-founder/leader of the Hilltopper Block Watch and regularly organizes community clean-ups, meetings, and personal interventions.
She has also committed her time to finding ways to reduce evictions in the Hilltopper neighborhood, particularly for first-time renters.
Britney Roberson, who nominated Valerie for the award, said Langston's work has been inspiring.
“Her commitment to reducing tenant turnover and evictions in her neighborhood has led to her meeting with a variety of people, from first‐time renters to landlords, to address challenges as they arise and connecting them directly to resources for support," said Roberson. "She is willing to connect directly with all people and is truly committed to finding solutions that support the individuals and the neighborhood.”
Langston also volunteers for numerous other community-based organizations, including the Near West Side Partners, serving as a representative of her neighborhood on the Resident Council.
“Valerie embodies AARP’s purpose, demonstrating that everybody has the opportunity to contribute to their community, regardless of their age or situation. This is particularly apparent in her work supporting neighbors following the COVID‐19 outbreak, helping them access online communities and stay connected virtually,” Roberson said.