A volunteer program intended for older citizens who want to dedicate their time to the community has expanded and is coming to Seneca and other nearby counties.
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Mid Ohio II was established Oct. 1 through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Services, said Kathy Mills, director of RSVP.
"We have a strong background, strong knowledge and we're going to bring that and those opportunities in these new counties," she said.
RSVP now serves Crawford, Huron, Marion, Marrow, Seneca and Wyandot counties.
Anyone age 55 or older is eligible to volunteer for RSVP, not just retired people, Mills said.
"We are an organization that has been around almost 40 years, with a mission and dedication to serving seniors," said Duana Patton, CEO of Area Agency on Aging. "To the most frail, to those who want to remain active and engage in their community. (RSVP is) there for them as they go through that aging process, with a goal to keep them as healthy and as active in the community as long as possible. And we do that through an array of services."
RSVP is active in helping with education in the community, as they offer volunteers who help with tutoring, Mills said. They also provide volunteers to help with children in the court system.
We have a lot of volunteers now in Richland County and Ashland that help with feed the needy programs and food banks.
"You never know where we're going to be or what we're going to be doing," Mills said. "But we can make a difference."
RSVP not only benefits the community, but it also helps its members, she said.
The program offers volunteers supplemental life, liability and automobile insurance, she said. The insurance would cover the volunteers' commute to and from RSVP events as well while they're volunteering.
Patton said volunteering for RSVP gets people who are retired and have lost their spouses out of the house, and can be a cure for depression and loneliness.
Mills said one of the biggest examples of RSVP helping volunteers was a woman who volunteered with the group up until two days before she died.
RSVP also has a volunteer recognition event and quarterly meetings to get the volunteers engaged, she said.
"It's getting seniors engaged, keeping them engaged," Mill said. We can learn so much from those who are older than us. They have so much to give."