Jeanne Bear is the subject of our volunteer spotlight for February 2019. Jeanne joined us as a member back in 2011, and then began volunteering for us two years ago in several of our work groups. Jeanne volunteers in Public Relations and National Community Organizers. She has also volunteered in Strategic Implementation. Jeanne lives Portland, Oregon and is a retired technical writer for Hewlett-Packard.
Jeanne was involved in the Coffee Party locally back in 2011 and would meet with others at the coffee shop to talk and find common ground, but the group disbanded after only a few meetings. As Jeanne became more interested in national and local affairs, it was the cultural wars and divisiveness in the country that lead her back to Coffee Party USA.
Jeanne felt the Public Relations group would be a good fit for her because of her writing background. This group is responsible for writing e-blasts and blog posts to keep our members, supporters and followers informed and to offer a variety of viewpoints.
Jeanne also joined the National Community Organizers Group because she has always been interested in the face-to-face aspect of the Coffee Party and this group provides resources and support to local groups.
Jeanne really enjoys learning about other people’s ideas and how they intersect with her own. She likes the give and take as well as learning about others’ perspectives and finding common ground. In talking to others in the Public Relations group, she enjoys the connection to what she has learned and believes we should focus more on listening and storytelling rather than on just the facts. Jeanne believes that some people feel that facts are the answer to everything and that they just need to agree on the facts, but what she likes to write about is the way people can listen and hear each other no matter what they have to say.
So for her, volunteering also means getting to see the intersections between ideas she has and what the rest of the group is doing.
Jeanne doesn’t just volunteer for the Coffee Party but is also very interested in developing and working on different models for housing for aging and seniors. Right now, she is focused on the idea of villages. Villages are making communities for people so they can stay in their own homes, but within a small geographical area. The concept of Villages started in Boston and Jeanne has been involved with a similar model in Portland. Villages are just one way to help people stay in their own homes. She is also working on shared housing for seniors as well as new models of inter-generational housing. So the ideas that she has intersect with different groups that need volunteers.
People in these villages also are engaged in community affairs and socializing with each other and finding common interests. They also can create a volunteer effort to help others do things. There is a small membership fee per month to get access to services — contractors, rides, light housekeeping, etc. If you can start enough communities in different parts of town, you develop enough momentum in a certain area that you can help the disabled and elderly.
To find out more about volunteering for the Coffee Party, click here.
To find out more about starting a local Coffee Party Community, click here.