Community Champions

Elaine Lortscher Job Developer, MENTOR Oregon
Grant Recipient, League of Women Voters of Curry County

Elaine Lortscher has been active in the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Curry County, Oregon for 5 years. LWV is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education, advocacy and community outreach.

Elaine is constantly encouraging women to exercise their right to vote. As a volunteer through LWV, she sets up booths in front of grocery stores and other local organizations, registering voters and distributing information on the issues being voted on. “We want people to know the facts on both sides,” she said. “The idea is to keep people informed.”  She also serves as a monitor at political forums, collecting questions from attendees and facilitating their discussion amongst candidates.

The League of Women’s Voters is particularly diligent about informing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities about their rights, which Elaine advocates for fiercely. She takes pride in her work with the League and believes in empowering women and disadvantaged populations. “Each year I get more and more involved,” she said. “I like to raise awareness and let people know the facts. Voting is an important right and responsibility.”

In addition to her work with the League, Elaine has volunteered with Coastal Home Health & Hospice in Gold Beach, OR for the past 2 years. This organization provides comprehensive home health programs that benefit individuals with life-threatening illnesses as well as the elderly.  Elaine has had various friends and family members utilize Coastal’s compassionate services over the years, and the organization is close to her heart. They opened a new thrift store earlier this year, the proceeds of which support enhancements of their programs. This was particularly exciting for Elaine, who saw a need for volunteers and an opportunity to develop job training for individuals served by MENTOR Oregon. She matched up a number of individuals with projects involving painting, sorting donations, creating displays, and much more. Many individuals became regular volunteers and one has even been hired, handling administrative, gardening and janitorial work at the thrift store.

Elaine consistently collects and donates items to the store and drops in to lend a hand whenever she can. She hopes to match up even more individuals facing intellectual and developmental disabilities with similar organizations. “Projects like this link individuals to their community,” she said. “An experience such as organizing a thrift store’s database or learning how to landscape can really develop job skills that can translate into paid opportunities down the road, leading to independence and empowerment.”

“Elaine’s volunteer work has not only benefited our community but also the folks we support through our programs,” said Dianna Wiles, Area Director at MENTOR Oregon. “The partnerships she has built have exposed our individuals to different types of work, allowed them to develop valuable skills they can use in the workplace, and has really given them a chance to be involved in the community in a meaningful way. We appreciate her dedication to not only empowering our consumers, but teaching them the value of community volunteerism.”

To learn more about the League of Women Voters of Curry County, please visit www.lwvcurry.org.

To learn more about Coastal Home Health and Hospice, please visit www.coastalhomehealthandhospice.com.