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Remarks by Nancy Haynes - President-Elect, New Jersey SHARES

About a year ago, I joined the steering committee that founded New Jersey SHARES. I had no idea what to expect. . . . I became involved with a group of strangers who took on that vision Judy Lankau mentioned earlier. I attended meetings and observed at first, then gradually became an integral part of a team with a mission.

Looking back at those meetings, I am convinced that if the group were smaller, say 3 or 4 people, we would not be here today with the good news for New Jersey residents. I say this because New Jersey SHARES was a lesson for all who participated in the power of diversity and community effort. . . . . I'm not talking only about diversity of gender or race. We had that on the team. Successful start ups need additional kinds of diversity. I'm referring to the diversity of knowledge, opinion and special skills of individual team members that was brought to the table at each meeting, offered freely and drawn upon when needed. We had a wealth of resources available from both the profit and non profit organizations. That is what enabled us to keep forging ahead for two years. We evolved into a team that could revitalize and renew itself. We never lost sight of the goal. From the non profits' perspective, we have put a human face on the organization. We know the concerns of families who have unexpected sickness or financial setbacks. We are familiar with the needs of low income families, the working poor and the retired poor.

As the state president of the American Association of Retired Persons, I represent 1.2 million members in New Jersey age fifty and over. Many of them have problems paying their utility bills. . . We are all aware that economic need affects all ages in our society. With the formation of New Jersey SHARES, it gives me personal satisfaction to have played a small part in moving a few steps closer to one of AARP's visions and that is to support organizations that help older persons to live the mature years of their lives with personal dignity and economic security.

New Jersey SHARES is going to make that difference for a lot of people.

“We know the concerns of families who have unexpected sickness or financial setbacks.”


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