Editor’s note: This column is part of the CDT’s Active Life special section.
What is your greatest asset? You’re probably thinking, “my home, retirement savings, health ...” but what about your time? At the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, we consider a person’s time to be one of his or her greatest assets. Think about it. You have a limited supply of it — just 24 hours in a day. You can choose when, where and how you give your time. Volunteers are a treasured service to Centre County and to the 70 nonprofit organizations that RSVP partners alongside.
What is RSVP? RSVP is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Centre County Board of Commissioners, through the county’s Office of Aging.
What are some of the benefits of volunteering? Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life, helps your gain confidence, meet new people, learn new skills, take on new challenges and advance your career. Also, volunteering not only helps to build a stronger community, but it also helps keep you strong and active.
What programs does RSVP coordinate? There are many. The Nexus Pen Pal is a program with volunteers who write six letters throughout the school year to elementary students at the Bald Eagle Area School District. In May, the Pen Pals meet. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program preparers completes income taxes for individuals/households that make $54,000 or less. We also have the Telephone Touch Reassurance Program, which connects volunteers with homebound individuals to let them know someone in the community cares and will be checking on them. “Troopons” is a program where you clip coupons so they can be sent to the troops both here in the U.S. and overseas to help them save money. The Centre County Pa. Senior Environmental Corps is a group that monitors the area streams to make sure they are healthy and clean.
What are RSVP’s goals? To help Centre County residents 55 and older explore their interests, talents and passions and help transform them into a meaningful and fulfilling volunteer experience, while helping to fill the needs of the nonprofits in our community.
In 2016, Centre County RSVP members gave more than 64,000 hours of their time to this community. Now we know you can’t truly put a price tag on a volunteer, but if you could equivocate a dollar amount to volunteering, the average figure is about $23 per hour (the amount saved in wages and related perks such as vacation and health care benefits). So when you add it all up, RSVP volunteers saved Centre County nonprofits more than $1.5 million last year.
So, how do you join RSVP? The RSVP staff can email or snail mail you an enrollment/interest form to fill out. After completing the forms, staff will contact you to set a time to meet to learn more about you, and where you want to share your talents. This way you are volunteering to do something that you’d enjoy, and it gives the staff a chance to know you as well as you get to know them.
RSVP is making our community stronger one volunteer at a time.
Brenda Reeve is the RSVP coordinator. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.