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Meet the AARP Purpose Prize Fellows

En español | The AARP Purpose Prize award recognizes the work of these fellows who are using their life experience to build a better future for us all.

Ana Pallés Yelen

Executive director and cofounder, Healing Warriors Program

“Nonprofits come into being because they find and fill a gap in what people need. Everyone can work to plug that hole, whether it’s taking a major action like starting a nonprofit or doing something small.”

Dexter Frederick

Executive director, Brain Expansions Scholastic Training

“The hardest part in trying to make a difference is getting started. The problem always seems big and insurmountable, which is why you need to start by helping one person at a time.”

Ilima Ho-Lastimosa

Founder, Ke Kula Nui O Waimānalo

“You don’t need a crisis to find your purpose. Looking back, my life before was pretty boring … I’m so happy that my life did change, because it changed for the better.”  

Larry Berger

Executive director, SLB Radio Productions

“Hire people with the right mindset. I can’t teach empathy or the intuitive understanding of how to work with different kinds of people and give everyone the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Rebecca Bonner

Executive director, The Bridge Way School 

“Never give up. We had so many obstacles in getting Bridge Way School started and keeping it sustainable ... Now, I’m trying to replicate this on a national scale.” 

Sheila Jaffe

Cofounder, Felix Organization

“Kids in foster care are not bad or unruly. Their situation does not define them. They have the deck stacked against them from the outset ... If you show them the way and open up their world, they can reap enormous benefits.”

Shellie Layne

Founder and CEO, At Home Foundation Inc./Women Under Construction Network

“Loving what you do and being committed to it is what makes it possible to maintain momentum doing important work and changing lives.”

Terri Chandler

Founder and executive director, Future Smiles

“If you think you want to launch a nonprofit, take adult education classes to learn about nonprofit management and grant writing. This way, you’ll be much more effective at fundraising.”

Terri Winston

Founder and executive director, Women’s Audio Mission

“You can effect change on your team, in your family, with your friends, by asking questions. Ask yourself: What is my part in this issue? Then be willing to hustle and find suggestions and answers.”