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Meet the AARP Maine Team!

Here is what you probably know about AARP:

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people age 50 and over have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole, ways that help people 50 and over improve their lives. Since 1958, AARP has been leading a revolution in the way people view and live life.

But did you know that AARP has 53 state offices? It’s true!

Our work reaches deep into members' communities through support from staffed offices in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Do you know how AARP got started?

Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus founded what is now AARP more than 50 years ago. She was a school teacher and the first female high school principal in the state of California. She saw firsthand the economic plight of retired educators in the post-Depression era.

Dr. Andrus was spurred to take action when she discovered one of her retired colleagues living in deplorable conditions: she was living outside of Los Angeles in, of all places, a chicken coop. Armed with the belief that everyone has the right to age with dignity, Dr. Andrus was moved to fight for the rights of retired teachers everywhere. She began a campaign to provide affordable medical insurance for retired educators. Eight years later, the first-ever group health insurance coverage was offered to retired teachers throughout the nation. At that time, Dr. Andrus founded the National Retired Educators Association (NRTA).

What happened next was incredible. Thousands of older Americans who were not retired teachers (and therefore not eligible for NRTA membership) contacted the Association wanting to know how they, too, could obtain health insurance and other NRTA benefits if they were not retired teachers. Recognizing that many other older Americans needed help as well, she decided to start a new association. In 1958, Dr. Andrus founded AARP.

Who are we in Maine?

Here in the Pine Tree State, our state office is located in Portland and there are five of us in that office:

  • Lori Parham, Senior State Director
  • John Hennessy: Director of Advocacy
  • Greg Cross: Director of Community Outreach
  • Jane Margesson: Director of Communications
  • Ilene Knight: Senior Office Administrator

We have 228,000 members across the state and hundreds of volunteers serving in many roles. If you are interested in volunteering with us, take a look at our website for more information.

We are here for you working to protect programs and services of vital importance to older Mainers. Please feel free to call us or email our office with any questions: 1-866-554-5380 or We look forward to hearing from you!

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