It’s a busy day in the AARP Louisiana office. Executive Directors, Vice Presidents and policy makers are milling about the conference room. But the who’s who of Baton Rouge quickly comes to order when a woman directs their attention to the agenda.
Meet Dr. Jeanne George. George is the epitome of the dynamic AARP volunteer leader, serving the community in a powerful and impactful way as co-chair of a policy workgroup.
George has a passion for transportation issues. Her vibrant charisma and tenacity regarding public transportation in Baton Rouge led Louisiana State Director Nancy McPherson to recruit her to AARP’s Executive Council.
“I began volunteering with AARP in October of 2011,” George explained. “This was shortly after retiring from 30 years of running my own psychology practice. “
Previously accustomed to being the chief decision-maker at her practice, it wasn’t hard for George to dive into her leadership role within AARP. As a council member, she quickly learned the ins and outs of social security, Medicaid expansion, transportation and other pressing topics on AARP’s agenda.
In just 3 short years, George made great strides toward improving and educating the Baton Rouge community. One of her greatest and most rewarding accomplishments was leading a team to advocate for Complete Streets policy in Baton Rouge.
George faced difficulty getting around her own community, which was her motivating factor for advocating for Complete Streets in Baton Rouge. Complete Streets ensures that streets are planned with consideration for all users of all ages and physical ability.
“I have trouble where I live safely crossing the street and I know that there are many other people with the same situation,” George said. “I feel that in some ways I represent an awful lot of people. I feel their pain, because I have the same pain.”
Over the course of 18 months, George worked closely with key government officials and community organizations to get the policy adopted in Baton Rouge. City Councilmembers unanimously approved the policy this past November.
In addition to getting the Complete Streets policy passed, George also educated hundreds of people in her community about the Affordable Care Act. She helped open minds to the positive aspects of the Act and correct misinformation about it.
What’s next on her agenda? Caregiving. “I thoroughly enjoy working with AARP staff and volunteers and I appreciate the approach they take at getting things done.” George said. “I sense that I am doing meaningful work and making a difference in a very constructive, positive way.”