In honor of National Volunteer Week, we are sharing stories about individuals across California who help us amplify our work each and every day. We've saved our longest-distance spotlight for last -- AARP California District Liaison Griff Weber, who sent us his responses all the way from Kathmandu, Nepal where he was spending time traveling.
AARP: Tell us a bit about yourself that you would like others to know.
Weber: I am Griff Weber, an AARP Volunteer District Liaison to the Congresswoman, State Senator and State Assemblyman that represent me. My interests include travel, wine tasting, cooking and watching sport. I love travel, not only because I get to see beautiful places and wonderful things, but especially because it is an opportunity to learn about new cultures and new ways of looking at the world. I like seeing life from the perspectives of others.
AARP: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
Weber: I was a rat surgeon doing heart, kidney and skin transplants for cancer and transplant research. We were trying to understand how our bodies recognize “self” and “non-self.” I also taught two years in Peru at the American School.
AARP: How did you become involved with AARP ?
Weber: In the summer of 2017 -- out of the blue -- I got an email from AARP asking if I was interested in volunteering to be an AARP District Liaison. I had just retired, and the description of the position sounded like it was a way to meet new people, keep learning and be intellectually stimulated on a variety of issues, and to have the potential to have a positive impact on the lives of many people.
AARP: What is one of your favorite aspects or memories of being a volunteer?
Weber: The California AARP District Liaison team works with the our legislative representatives and their staff to understand AARP views on a wide variety of issues and to ask for their support. Sometimes the legislator comes to me to ask for AARP’s position on an issue, or to ask for our support on a bill they are drafting. I especially enjoy figuring out the right time and packaging of the AARP message to have impact at a critical time for a bill, or a budget request. Luckily, the AARP staff to a very good job of educating us on the issues and preparing materials for us to use. Our success on bills and budget requests is the result of the work by many AARP staffers and volunteers, and I love it when we come together to get AARP views into bills and budget requests. I also enjoy giving a “nudge” at just the right time and place. The impact of this work is most likely to be in the medium and long term.
AARP: What keeps you motivated in your life and/or in your work as a volunteer?
Weber: I currently spend about 8 to 15 hours a month on my AARP volunteering. It is great. I am meeting new people and forming new relationships, I am learning about all kinds of new issues, and do feel that what I am doing has the potential to have a meaningful impact on many peoples lives.
Interested in volunteering with us? Visit http://spr.ly/6181EjO7x