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What is the RSVP?

December 1, 2012

RSVP is a federal grant program administered by a local sponsoring agency that is responsible for the program and its activities. Since January 2009, RSVP of Boone and Greene Counties has been sponsored by Boone County Hospital (BCH). RSVP operates from its own generated budget of federal, state, city, counties and United Way dollars, as well as fundraising and grant writing.

RSVP stands for Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, however, a few years ago adopted the name RSVP 55+ Volunteer Program. Persons ages 55 and older are enrolled as RSVP volunteer members. In today's society, the words retired and senior have different meaning. Age 55 is not senior as this age is part of the baby boomers. The phrase older adult is now widely used. The majority of society no longer automatically retires at the age of 62 or 65. People retire earlier or many continue working full or part-time into later years. RSVP volunteers are working, semi-retired and retired individuals.

RSVP works with partnering non-profit, health, education, city and county entities to help address their needs through volunteerism. RSVP works at no cost to community partners. The main focus of these partnerships is to market for and recruit volunteers to help build capacity so they can better provide services.

There are benefits to enrolling as an RSVP volunteer. RSVP offers adult volunteers ages 55 and older opportunities to share their skills, interests and life experiences in response to a variety of community needs. RSVP works to meet the needs of volunteers by finding volunteer opportunities that fit their schedule, respect their personal preferences, and provide a rewarding and enjoyable experience. RSVP knows volunteering is very healthful and provides individuals an outlet to help someone in need. RSVP tracks the work of volunteers to show the impact volunteers have in the lives of those they serve indirectly and directly.

The community benefits from volunteers assisting in building or promoting needed resources for services and programming. RSVP has helped agencies develop or strengthen programs to meet unmet needs in the communities. Through the concerns of community citizens, RSVP began and continues to sustain the Adult Caregiver Respite Program in Boone County and GAP (Grocery-Shopping Assistance Program) in Greene County. Both of these programs would not exist without concerned citizens expressing this unmet need to RSVP or without the dedication of RSVP volunteers.

RSVP members in Boone and Greene County work in many capacities that include: friendly visitation, elementary literacy, mentoring, assisting homeless and at-risk of being homeless youth and enhancing life skills, giving presentations on investment and scam fraud, disaster preparedness and response, food assistance, varying office assistance, tourism, food distribution programs, special advocates for abused and neglected children, and more. RSVP volunteer coaches also hold Matter of Balance: Falls Prevention classes.

RSVP has been home to the Small Medical Loan Closet since July 2009. This is a free service to persons of short-term recovery.

Serving Boone County since 1987 and Greene County since 2005, RSVP recruits volunteers from all economic, educational and social backgrounds. RSVP helps make a difference one person at a time. In order to continue our efforts, we are always searching for the time, services, and talents of volunteers. By RSVPing, good things happen!

Pictured is Sue Pratt, Adult Caregiver Respite Program and RSVP Volunteer Coordinator

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