AARP AARP States North Dakota Events

More than 100 Volunteers Gather in Fargo


More than 100 AARP volunteers from across the state gathered in Fargo for this year’s volunteer conference entitled, “Inspired to Care, Empowered to Act.”

AARP’s Elaine Ryan, Vice President of State Advocacy and Strategy Integration, kicked off the event with her keynote presentation on caregiving. Elaine provided her personal perspectives on caregiving and inspired and entertained the audience with her quick wit.

“Living Your Best Life in Your Community” was the topic of an afternoon panel featuring Ramona Danielson (ND Compass), Jasper Schnieder (USDA Rural Development), and Dr. Jane Strommen (NDSU Dept. of Human Development and Family Science). State Director Janis Cheney moderated this session. Participants discussed the aspirations they have for their communities and how to empower themselves and others to act for the betterment of their communities.

“Very good conference – good topics. Opened many opportunities for those who would like to participate.”

The presentation of the Andrus Award for Community Service to Jim Billey of Ellendale was the highlight of the evening’s volunteer recognition banquet. Surrounded by family and friends from across the country, Jim was both humble and inspiring in his acceptance of the award.


The next day included a session on responsible solutions to the Social Security and Medicare programs, including up-to-the-minute status reports in the wake of the recent Congressional battles. Here's the message volunteers had for our state's congressional delegation.

The “Navigating the New Health Care Law” session led by Bismarck volunteer Janet Michelson, provided information on the Affordable Care Act, giving attendees more insight for themselves and family members. Also discussed were the benefits to Medicare recipients, and what the expansion of Medicaid in 2014 means to North Dakotans.

“Volunteers certainly are appreciated and this message was conveyed by all presenters.”

Finally, volunteer Mike Tomasko of West Fargo led a session on “Toolbox Tips for Volunteers,” giving the inside scoop on easy ways for volunteers to access information, share ideas and connect with others.

We look forward to building on the success of this conference, providing an opportunity for AARP volunteers from across North Dakota to gather, share insights, and be empowered to act on issues affecting them, their families and communities.


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