Doris Welch

Doris Welch
Active Member, JASA Advocacy Program

When Doris Welch was an employee of the New York City Housing Authority, she became a member of the? Teamsters Local 237 Union, and knew they had her back on issues that would impact her life. After retiring, Doris became involved in JASA, and came to realize that many older residents don’t have the security of an organization who will lobby on their behalf and take their concerns to elected leaders.

“What happens to older adults? What happens to those seniors who are non-union? There are so many issues – healthcare, pension, Social Security, community concerns – that need our voice.” Doris decided to get involved and took JASA’s Institute for Senior Action (IFSA) advocacy training class to hone skills she’d developed speaking up for workers’ rights. The class taught her the basics of how government works – depending on the issue, she now knows which government official or City department she should approach to get results.

“As seniors, we have a tendency to keep our heads down and worry about a roof over our heads and food on the table, while the City could float away and we’d never know how we got there,” Doris said. “Getting involved is important.”

Doris says she realizes that New York City has a tremendous number of union retirees, many with fantastic benefits that wrap around their retirement, but she points out that even these individuals still have needs for Senior Centers, Home-Delivered Meals and other services that provide assistance to the aging.

“I can see the impact of my involvement particularly when someone asks me something that doesn’t involve the union. For example, when someone says they need information on food assistance, and I can help.”

As a woman who is the current President of the New York City Chapter of the New York State Alliance of Retired Americans, a board member of the League of Women Voters of the City of New York and more, Doris’s advice to other seniors is to get involved. “Get to know your community.” This, she says, will make a difference for all seniors.