RSVP — Retired and Senior Volunteer Program — enlists the time, talent, and experience of persons 55 years and older into meaningful volunteer service that enhances the community and the volunteer’s lives. It is a win-win situation where the senior citizen gains new purpose during retirement while sharing their knowledge or learning something new. The community gains from the experience the volunteers bring to the assignments.
These volunteers serve in private and public non-proﬁt agencies and organizations. Volunteers are serving at senior centers during noontime meals and provide transportation for those who no longer can drive. Some of the drivers for Meals on Wheels belong to RSVP. These services are available in Cedaredge, Delta, Hotchkiss and Paonia. Both projects are invaluable and well known contributions to the senior nutrition program.
Each meal site has a governing board with officers to oversee all senior functions held at the center. The president at each center manages the dining room and all volunteers. Presently serving are Twila Low (Cedaredge), Lola Page (Delta), Velma Holder (Hotchkiss), and Jim Nierenberger (Paonia).
The handyman service provides minor home repairs to limited income seniors, frail elderly and the handicapped. Services are restricted to repairs that add to the safety, comfort or welfare of those in need.
The Reading Buddy project places volunteers in schools assisting students with reading. Tutors in other subjects also work in local schools.
Other work sites include nursing homes, hospitals, chambers of commerce, museums, libraries, senior centers, and schools. Criminal justice centers, governmental agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service, local governments and economic development, and non-proﬁt organizations within the community are also among the 140 registered stations in the local program.
All active volunteers are covered by free excess accident and liability insurance while engaged in a RSVP assignment. It is very important that volunteers sign a registration form to be eligible for this coverage.
RSVP volunteers are the reason so many non-proﬁt agencies ﬂourish. Last year, RSVP volunteers provided over 100,000 service hours. More than 1,000 volunteers are registered in the ﬁve-county area with nearly 500 in Delta County.
Neil Pratt serves as executive director of RSVP of ﬁve counties — Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, San Miguel, and Ouray. His responsibilities include helping and assisting volunteers and staff when needed. He writes grants and develops programs that help seniors with the assistance of volunteers and community in accessing the most highly critical needs of the community and develops resources to ﬁll those needs.
Diana Enos is director of the RSVP program for Delta County. She recruits and trains volunteers matching each to individual interests and abilities. She is responsible for collecting and tracking the volunteer hours worked by RSVP registered members in Delta County. She handles requests for transportation, handyman services, and reimbursement. Other duties include organizing special events such as recognition events throughout the county and the Santa program. She is an advocate for issues pertaining to seniors.
Priorities for future projects are being assessed. Among those are 72 hour disaster preparedness for seniors; GRAN, a project involving grandparents against meth; mentoring children whose parent is incarcerated; recruiting of baby boomers for meaningful volunteering opportunities using their speciﬁc expertise; education and mentoring in addition to the school projects.
In 1993, RSVP became part of the newly formed Corporation for National Service, previously known as ACTION. Under this government agency the program receives ﬁnancial and technical assistance from federal and non-federal sources.
To contact RSVP, the main office is located at 121 N. Park Ave, Montrose. The office can be reached by calling 249-9639 or 866-371-7787. The mailing address is P.O. Box 85, Montrose, CO 81412. The Delta office may be contacted by phone at 874-6370. blog comments powered by Disqus