In honor of National Volunteer Week, we are sharing stories about individuals across California who help us amplify our work each and every day. Today we'd like to introduce you to Lourdes Mejía-Diez, a volunteer from San Diego who has a passion for event planning and for sprucing up her 1994 Nissan Sentra.
AARP: Tell us a bit about yourself that you would like others to know.
Mejía-Diez: I'm a 72 year old mother of three with five grandchildren, who enjoys meeting new people, making friends, helping others, and love to be an active member of our beautiful community. I have great passion for music, and love dancing. I'm very artistic and spend most of my time doing arts and crafts. I like to design jewelry with silver and semi-precious stones, as well as clothing. Among many other jobs, I worked for many years as a decorator/design consultant for shopping centers and hotels in Mexico, and as an event planner; therefore, I really enjoy helping organize events.
AARP: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
Based on the fact that I like to dress up and look neat, most people wouldn't guess that I know a lot about the inner workings of a car. I used to do my own oil changes , belts and hoses, and love to maintain my car in good shape. I drive a standard transmission/stick shift-94 Nissan Sentra. I'm very grateful for it, because it takes me places and gives me a sense of freedom. You can often find me in the parking lot, waxing it thoroughly to protect it from the sun.
AARP: How did you become involved with AARP or what made you want to become a volunteer?
Mejía-Diez: While watching TV, I learned about a dance that AARP was hosting for people my age. I went to the dance. Aside from having a ton of fun, I met a wonderful couple whom I'm now proud to call friends. Cris, and her husband invited me to an AARP meeting, and that's how I started volunteering.
AARP: What has surprised you most about volunteering with AARP?
Mejía-Diez: I was surprised by the amount of volunteer work that goes into empowering elders to learn new skills, and participate in activities that are both fun and developmental.
AARP: What is one (or a few!) of your favorite aspects or memories of being a volunteer?
Mejía-Diez: My favorite aspect about the volunteering work I do, is the interaction with people my age, that have similar interests, as well as challenges. Volunteering reminds me of how capable, healthy and blessed I am!
AARP: What keeps you motivated in your life and/or in your work as a volunteer?
Mejía-Diez: My family feels proud of me and the work I do as a volunteer, also the constant potential for new friendships keep me motivatad.
AARP: What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming an AARP volunteer?
Mejía-Diez: I would highly recommended volunteering for AARP, to anyone that is retired or near retirement. Dedicating time to help others as well as learning from others it's a very fulfilling practice. It keeps one's heart Happy, our bodies young and strengthens our sense of community.
Interested in volunteering with us? Visit http://spr.ly/6181EjO7x