by Shannon Steele
Liz James, an AARP volunteer from Rogue Valley, Oregon, values collaboration and being part of something bigger than herself. Liz is the kind of person that likes to be behind the scenes, someone that goes after and supports what she finds important. She is a very humble and kind woman that contributes significantly to anything she sets her mind to.
Liz has volunteered since college since she came across the organization Lesbian Health Initiative her senior year. She started as a volunteer with them and then moved her way up to be the first paid employee and CEO of the nonprofit. Through education and outreach to the community, Liz shared the hardships the LGBTQ+ community was facing due to the lack of healthcare they could receive to make changes for the better. She strongly believes in advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community’s health and fair treatment.
“Running that nonprofit was the hardest, but most rewarding accomplishment," she said, and one she is grateful for. She said it took hard work and love to build an organization, relationships, and many other things in life.
Now Liz continues her advocacy for the LGBTQ+ through volunteering with AARP. One of her favorite volunteer experiences was at the 2018 Pride Festival in Oregon, where AARP Oregon had a table. Liz was chosen to lead the event. She met the Oregon House speaker, Tina Kotek, and the local state representative, Pam Marsh. Liz enjoyed the inclusion and pride that she experienced at the festival – especially AARP’s theme that year -- “Pride is ageless.”
Over several years, Liz has come to be a recognized representative for AARP in Southern Oregon. “Liz James is an extraordinary volunteer and person. She is the Advocacy leader for the Southern Oregon CAT (Community Action Team) and so much more. She attends not only meetings about Age-friendly issues but also LGBTQ issues. She sits on boards, representing AARP. And she does this all with grace and charm. Liz is an awesome asset to AARP.” says Arlene Krasner, AARP’s S. Oregon Volunteer Team Leader.
Liz likes to use her skills for the better and has learned that helping others is a huge priority. She has a favorite quote from Brene Brown: “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we make every day. It’s about the choices to show up and be real, the choice to be honest, the choice to let our true self be seen.” She values being her authentic self and encourages others to do the same. Her values are what keeps her connected to AARP.
“AARP is an inclusive, effective and sustainably impactful organization.” She said.
Shannon Steele is an AARP Intern for Oregon and Montana.
Liz James Shines as an AARP Advocacy Volunteer Leader in S. Oregon
by Shannon Steele