The Roundup -

RSVP Volunteers are a Priceless Asset to the Community

 

Bill Forester and Eunice Lathrop, two long standing RSVP volunteers, are pictured with RSVP Program Coordinator Rita Jacobson.

There is a quiet yet powerful force at work in our community; a group of individuals who go to work, not for money or recognition, but simply to fill a need that would otherwise be left unfilled. These are the volunteers of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP. RSVP members give their time, energy, experience, and skills while addressing challenges effecting their communities.

RSVP is part of Senior Corps which is a federal organization, and was established in the area in 2002 since providing countless hours of service through their volunteers. The program focuses on keeping seniors active and engaged by matching them with local needs. However, RSVP encourages all ages to get involved and recognizes the value of cultivating those with a heart for community service today for the benefit of tomorrow.

"There are a lot of services out there that wouldn't be if it weren't for volunteers," said Jessica Davies, RSVP Director.

About 395 people are on Richland County's RSVP call list and 175 of those are regular monthly volunteers who serve at one or more of 25 work stations in Sidney such as the Sunrise Pregnancy Center, Good Cents Store, Salvation Army, and the library. Volunteers also give their time to senior companionship and adult literacy programs, Meals on Wheels, and Senior Mentoring where they go into schools to work with students. Businesses and organizations call on RSVP for a variety of needs and volunteers can be found helping with mass immunization and sports clinics, fundraising events, and providing such services as golf-cart transport during the Richland County Fair.

The benefits of RSVP include keeping senior citizens living independently in their homes, aiding government and non-profit organizations, and providing educational support all while keeping RSVP members active, involved, and providing a social element.

The Federal volunteer rate is $23.07 per hour putting into perspective the amount of money RSVP saves the community, but for the families and individuals that are impacted, these are priceless efforts. These individuals are also essential in emergency situations, collecting and dispersing information quickly.

Individuals and families determine how often and in what ways they can donate their time, whether it is twice a week at the library or once a year as bell ringers for the Salvation Army, no gift of time is too small. For more information on community service needs and ways to volunteer, contact RSVP at 406-433-2207. The difference between a community that can't and a community that can is the people who give their time for the cause, so to all the volunteers out there, thank you for making this a community that can.

 

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