When you become a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteer, you are not just helping others — you are helping yourself. Volunteering leads to new discoveries and new friends. Plus, studies show that volunteering increases health and longevity and promotes a positive outlook on life. So, what is RSVP, you may ask?
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service and has been locally sponsored by Senior Resources Inc. in Columbia since 1973. Trina Cornelison, director of RSVP of the Midlands, is spokesperson for this week’s Newberry Notes.
“RSVP is America’s largest volunteer network for individuals 55 or older with nearly 500,000 volunteers across the country tackling tough issues. RSVP offers ‘one stop shopping’ for volunteers who want to find challenging, rewarding and significant service opportunities in their local communities. Volunteers choose how and where they want to serve — from a few hours to more than 40 hours a week. They can also choose whether to draw on personal skills or develop new ones,” said Cornelison.
RSVP of the Midlands serves Richland, Lexington and Newberry counties. Here are just a few examples of how RSVP of the Midlands volunteers serve their communities:
• Pack and/or deliver Meals on Wheels to the home bound disabled and elderly
• Work at local food banks helping provide for the needs of hungry people
• Sort and pack fresh produce to be distributed to seniors through RSVP’s Food Co-op
• Serve as Guardian Ad Litem’s to advocate for children in the Family Court system
• Tutor and mentor at risk children in local schools
• Various jobs in local hospitals and nursing homes
• Work on special RSVP projects such as dressing Salvation Army bears or making Dang it Dolls, just to name a few.
“What I appreciate the most about the RSVP program is that it provides a dual benefit — the agencies and clients being served by RSVP volunteers benefit and the volunteers themselves benefit as well. Having meaning and purpose in our lives improves physical and mental health. I feel it is a privilege to be able to be a part of this ‘double benefit’ which often touches people on both ends of the life spectrum,” said Cornelison.
As an RSVP volunteer, you will receive supplemental insurance while on duty, will be honored at recognition events, and be able to know that your volunteer hours are tracked and reported on a national level in order to show how significantly volunteers can impact a community and to help dispel the myths of aging!
RSVP of the Midlands is particularly interested in increasing our presence in Newberry County, where we have been serving since 2009. Of approximately 70 active RSVP stations where RSVP volunteers are currently serving, only 10 of these are located in Newberry County.
In addition, RSVP of the Midlands is in the process of aligning our program with the Corporation for National & Community Service strategic plan which involves RSVP’s across the country choosing a major focus area. RSVP of the Midlands focus area will be Healthy Futures, which means we will be focusing on meeting health needs in the community. Service activities that align with this focus area include supporting the ability of home bound, older adults and individuals with disabilities to live independently and assisting individuals with access to food resources.
If you are interested in volunteering or feel that your non-profit agency aligns with the Healthy Futures focus of RSVP and would like to become an RSVP station, contact us at 803-252-7734 Ext. 246 or 248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
While RSVP of the Midlands main office is located at Senior Resources in Columbia, the Newberry County Council on Aging graciously provides office space for RSVP of the Midlands in their agency located at 1300 Hunt St. RSVP staff is at this location on the first and third Tuesday of each month, but you can contact us at any time at the above phone number or email address.
You have gained a lifetime of experience. Now it’s time to put your skills and talents to good use by volunteering through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.