Elders in Action is powered by the wisdom and talent of our volunteers. People of all backgrounds and experience share their unique skills to improve the lives of others. Enjoy some of their stories on the "Our Volunteers" page.
The Joy of Movement
One of Elders in Action's extraordinary volunteers and advocates is Lenore Bijan. As a member of the Leadership Team and Commission, Lenore has worked with great passion and dedication advocating for quality services for seniors on the local, state, and federal levels.
Lenore's path to community advocate has not always been very direct or easy. Bijan studied classical ballet and danced professionally in New York, London and Paris. At age 25 she "retired" to marry and raise children in a Philadelphia suburb. The profound autism of one daughter, an illness that left another daughter paralyzed, and a divorce necessitated major changes in course. Returning to school (University of Pennsylvania), she did editorial work at the Johnson Foundation for Medical Physics and wrote several children's books on science published by Prentice Hall. Other jobs involved medical and scientific writing and memberships in the National Science Writers Association. She moved to Oregon to pursue opportunities for her disabled daughters.
When Lenore retired, she began to feel isolated and vulnerable. Instead of succumbing to these emotions, Lenore took action. She started by participating in VIEWS*, a free program that aims to improve the emotional well being of metro-area seniors. Bijan credits the program with helping increase her confidence. Lenore, building on this new lease on life, found new challenges in yoga. As a former performer and teacher of classical ballet, the practice of yoga with an aging body (hers) has fascinated her since she attended her first yoga class at age 72. Lenore now directs a yoga class "The Joy of Movement" which is designed for individuals 65 years and up. At 77 years, she is the oldest recipient of accreditation by The Movement Center to teach hatha yoga.
Lenore's outreach has continued to grow. Besides her efforts on the Leadership Team and Commission of Elders in Action, she works with Portland Impact and Multnomah County's Coalition for Healthy Aging, serves on Oregon's Advisory Council on Energy and is Vice President of the Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens. She represents Elders in Action on the Portland Citizen Corps Emergency Planning Council where she assists public officials in understanding the needs of vulnerable citizens in times of emergencies. In her spare time, Lenore also grows, cans, freezes and dries almost all of her own food.
Lenore is a great example of an elder in action and we are proud to have her as a volunteer in our organization. She never hesitates to call public officials and eloquently expresses her ideas about how to make the social service system better. Through her efforts and those of other volunteers, Elders in Action is able to ensure that quality of life never depends on age.
VIEWS (Volunteers Involved for the Emotional Well-being of Seniors). Their mission is to empower and enrich the lives of older adults by connecting them with community. Call (503) 261-6181 for more information.
Other Volunteers' Stories