MASON COUNTY — The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is currently searching for senior volunteers in Mason County.
MariJo Tedesco, director of the RSVP program, shared RSVP is part of Senior Corps and federally funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council (MOVRC) based in Parkersburg is the program’s sponsor.
“The RSVP Program is used to help find out what seniors are doing in their communities and tracking the impact they have on the community,” said Tedesco.
She said the RSVP program recently expanded into Mason County, with 35 Mason County volunteers currently sharing the number or hours they volunteer and where they volunteer each month.
Tedesco explained there is no charge for registration, all that is required is the volunteer’s birth date, address, and signature.
“When a senior does sign up for our program, we offer supplemental accidental health insurance and supplemental automobile insurance. This coverage would be used if a volunteer was injured while volunteering. It acts as secondary coverage,” said Tedesco.
She explained the volunteers who register for the program and actively turn in their hours are given recognition at various events throughout the year, such as lunches and/or giveaways. One event is at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center.
“Many volunteers do not even realize they are volunteering. We are looking for volunteers at local churches, food and clothing banks, pantries, veteran’s centers, schools, hospitals, and auxiliaries to join our program,” said Tedesco.
She explained local, state, and federal funding is becoming more competitive and heavily impact generated. The more impact that is shown via volunteering in local communities, the better the chance to remain competitive in grant awards.
“West Virginia has the second highest population of senior citizens, per capita. We are second only to Florida. Many seniors are doing wonderful and important things in their communities,” said Tedesco.
The RSVP program is looking for seniors who are 55 years of age or older and who are able to volunteer a few hours of their time every week. Those who volunteer will be able to focus on six specific positions such as disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veteran military families.
RSVP volunteers will have a chance to provide food for the homeless and hungry, build housing for low income neighbors, help local law enforcement officials make communities safer, protect forests and rivers, mentor and tutor the youth, and support veterans and military families. Some examples of the type of volunteer work being done by RSVP volunteers are tutoring students, providing transportation for veterans and/or others, as well as working at food pantries, hospitals, Red Cross blood drives, and the West Virginia Welcome Center.
Some information from RSVP Information Packet was used in this article.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.