DOES YOUR LIFE HAVE ENOUGH ZING?

Vol­un­teer­ing pro­vides re­ward­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FIFTY PLUS - By RSVP

What now? Stu­dents are back in class­rooms. Fam­i­lies are back from va­ca­tions and back to work. Foot­ball sea­son is here. There’s lots of ac­tion and peo­ple are get­ting busy. Are you ready for an en­er­giz­ing and re­ward­ing es­cape from your daily rou­tine? If you feel like you could use a boost, vol­un­teer­ing might be your an­swer!

What if you could take that step out­side of your com­fort zone and find that feel­ing of grat­i­fi­ca­tion and ac­com­plish­ment that’s been miss­ing?

One of the most grat­i­fy­ing feel­ings peo­ple can ex­pe­ri­ence is to know that our lives are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

RSVP has nearly 45 years of ex­pe­ri­ence help­ing peo­ple find re­ward­ing vol­un­teer roles in their own com­mu­ni­ties. An in­ter­view can un­cover your in­ter­ests, your avail­abil­ity, the time com­mit­ment you’re will­ing to ded­i­cate, whether you pre­fer work­ing one-on-one or in a group and what causes are im­por­tant to you. RSVP of­fers hun­dreds of var­ied op­por­tu­ni­ties: some­thing for ev­ery­one!

Ev­ery day, count­less RSVP vol­un­teers tu­tor strug­gling stu­dents and vet­er­ans through an on­line pro­gram, visit home­bound se­niors or drive them to doc­tor ap­point­ments, lead tours at his­toric sites, de­liver meals-on-wheels, men­tor at-risk youths, pro­vide coun­sel­ing help to lo­cal non­prof­its, read to Head Start preschool­ers, coun­sel Medi­care re­cip­i­ents, help adults im­prove their lit­er­acy skills, staff thrift shops, pro­vide lit­er­acy sup­port for stu­dents, present STEM-re­lated ca­reers to in­spire youth, staff soup kitchens and much, much more.

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Michele Moll states, “We know from ex­pe­ri­ence that if you pro­vide peo­ple with an ef­fec­tive and re­ward­ing way to give back they will re­spond with re­mark­able stamina and ded­i­ca­tion. It’s what our amaz­ing vol­un­teers do ev­ery day.”

You might be won­der­ing why

Ev­ery day, count­less RSVP vol­un­teers tu­tor strug­gling stu­dents and vet­er­ans through an on­line pro­gram, visit home­bound se­niors or drive them to doc­tor ap­point­ments, lead tours at his­toric sites, de­liver meals-on-wheels, men­tor at-risk youths, pro­vide coun­sel­ing help to lo­cal non­prof­its, read to Head Start preschool­ers, coun­sel Medi­care re­cip­i­ents, help adults im­prove their lit­er­acy skills, staff thrift shops, pro­vide lit­er­acy sup­port for stu­dents, present STEM-re­lated ca­reers to in­spire youth, staff soup kitchens and much, much more.

so many peo­ple par­tic­i­pate in an un­paid ac­tiv­ity. Know­ing that your time and skill have re­ally helped some­one else is a pow­er­ful feel­ing that res­onates deeply.

In Philadel­phia, 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple vol­un­teered in 2014, pro­vid­ing 12.8 mil­lion hours of ser­vice to their com­mu­ni­ties, worth a stag­ger­ing sav­ings of $3.6 bil­lion.

Vol­un­teer­ing strength­ens ties to the com­mu­nity and ex­poses us to other peo­ple who share com­mon in­ter­ests.

Ac­cord­ing to John Hut­ton, an RSVP vol­un­teer ac­tive in their Amer­ica Reads, Help on Call pro­gram and Se­nior Sup­port Ser­vices, “Vol­un­teer­ing pro­vides me an av­enue to re­main en­gaged

with dif­fer­ent parts of my com­mu­nity. RSVP part­ners with many di­verse agen­cies with many dif­fer­ent mis­sions and tar­get pop­u­la­tions, pro­vid­ing an ef­fi­cient way to ex­plore dif­fer­ent ar­eas, try out new ac­tiv­i­ties and skills en­abling vol­un­teers to grow into new ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Re­searchers are prov­ing that peo­ple who vol­un­teer are hap­pier, more con­tent peo­ple be­cause they have con­nected with some­one else and some­thing mean­ing­ful.

Vol­un­teers play a cru­cial role in fill­ing the gaps that re­sult for pop­u­la­tions who don’t qual­ify for ser­vices or as­sis­tance. A good vol­un­teer place­ment agency is aware of the chang­ing needs in com­mu­ni­ties and is keenly aware that the vol­un­teer’s ex­pe­ri­ence needs to be per­son­ally ful­fill­ing.

RSVP vol­un­teer Rick Layer is very ex­cited that school is start­ing again. He reads to class­rooms full of ea­ger Head Start preschool­ers sim­ply be­cause it’s fun. “Mr. Rick’s” stu­dents jump up and down with ex­cite­ment on the days he’s sched­uled to read. But Mr. Rick doesn’t just read the books; he makes them come to life.

“One day I was to read a book about ice skat­ing so I brought in pa­per plates for the kids to stand on so they could pre­tend to be skat­ing. They had a blast! When I read a book about a moose with a mus­tache, I bought some yarn and my wife and I made lit­tle mus­taches on sticks for the kids. I get so much joy in read­ing to the stu­dents and see­ing their de­vel­op­ment.”

If you’ve ever won­dered what drives peo­ple who want to help other peo­ple, maybe it’s your time to think about giv­ing the gift of kind­ness. Join the pay-it-for­ward move­ment by do­ing some­thing self­less for some­one who needs a hand.

RSVP hosts weekly in­for­ma­tion ses­sions held at lo­ca­tions through­out Mont­gomery, Delaware and Ch­ester coun­ties. To learn more or view the sched­ule of up­com­ing ses­sions, visit rsvpmc.org or email vol­un­teer123@rsvpmc.org.

RSVP will be host­ing its 11th an­nual fam­ily friendly Run Wild 5K & 1 Mile Walk held at the Elm­wood Park Zoo on Oct. 2,. Race time is at 9 a.m., rain or shine. Fam­i­lies, friends and groups are en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate as teams. All race pro­ceeds sup­port RSVP’s chil­dren’s pro­grams ben­e­fit­ting 4,425 lo­cal chil­dren. To regis­ter, visit rsvpmc.org/con­tent/ events.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — RSVP

Rick Layer reads to Head Start preschool stu­dents.

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