ONE Member of the Month: Amy Quinn

Amy Quinn A 2009 ceremony with LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa when LA was declared a City of ONE. Amy is to the Mayor’s right.

Congratulations to Amy Quinn, our ONE Member of the Month for April. Amy has been involved with ONE since 2004 – making her one of our pioneer volunteers. She is dedicated, energetic, and relentless when it comes to ending poverty.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I was born and raised in South Dakota and met my husband when I moved to California in 1989. I have one son, Jackson – who is my everything.

I have been writing letters to my members of Congress since the Ethiopian famine in 1984. I don’t know if it was because I grew up quite poor that I identified and felt compassion for the famine victims but I couldn’t get the images of them out of my mind. I became a supporter of Save the Children but was always searching for a way that I could do something more than just contribute money.

How did you get involved with ONE?

In 2004, I was on the Save the Children website and there was an announcement that they had partnered up with ten other organizations with this amazing idea to work together as ONE to bring an end to extreme poverty.

The idea of all of these amazing organizations pooling their resources, their knowledge and experience to mobilize people like me was something I had certainly never heard of before or dreamed of. I thought to myself, “This could actually work!” In 2005, I was contacted by Holly Hight from Bread for the World inviting me to attend a local ONE training led by Bread for the World, CARE and OXFAM. After I left the training, I immediately formed ONE Campaign Los Angeles.

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A ONE event in 2005 – talk about a throwback!

What are ONE Members in Los Angeles like?

The committed volunteers that I have worked with over the last ten years in Los Angeles are some of the most inspiring people I have ever met. Whether they work primarily with a partner organization or directly with ONE, they never stop fighting extreme poverty. They are creative, fun people who care deeply about ONE.

What is the most challenging thing about being an activist for ONE and our issues.

The biggest challenge is battling the mindset that we should solve America’s problems before tackling international ones. Trying to get people to care about people they’ve never met is such a hurdle. We have to lead by example, be consistent and hopefully, one day – they will realize why we need to do something. Hopefully, they will see that we are making a difference in millions of human lives – people just like us – people who have children whose lives have been saved because of programs like PEPFAR and GAVI.

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Who inspires you?

I am particularly inspired by two of my fellow ONE Members, Elaine Van Cleave and Alix Gordon. We have known each other for ten years and they have never faltered in their fight against the injustice of extreme poverty. They are busy women who always find time to keep up the good fight. They are warm, compassionate, deeply committed activists.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Besides volunteering, I love to be outside, especially backpacking and hiking. I love hanging out with my husband and son and we love to travel. I dream of going to Africa to see firsthand both the problems and the solutions – the progress and what still needs to be done.

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ONE volunteers at a U2 show in Los Angeles

What has been your favorite experience with ONE?

Oh, so many! My absolute favorite was my recent trip to DC for the Power Summit. To be surrounded by so many likeminded people was such a blessing. A few years ago, I had the great privilege to attend the African First Ladies Health Summit here in Los Angeles on behalf of ONE.

It was an extremely powerful experience for me to visit with these magnificent women and hear them talk about their countries with such love and hope. I also enjoy our partner events – we’ve worked so closely with CARE and Bread for the World here in LA – we have truly been partners. Back in 2006, we had our first AIDS Walk and over 100 ONE members attended and walked together. It was very moving. We’ve had many in district meetings which to me, is the true work and ultimate goal of the ONE Volunteer.

Big thank you to Amy for all the incredible work that she does for ONE. Want to nominate someone for the next Member of the Month? Email Malaka at mgharib@one.org with the subject line, “Member of the Month.”