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RSVP: You’re Invited to Volunteer

Nurten Foster and Audrey StockwellMoney Management Volunteer Nurten Foster and Program Assistant Audrey Stockwell, who also volunteers for the program, at last year’s Volunteer Recognition eventEveryone wants to feel a sense of belonging and importance, especially after retirement. Losing the connection to meaningful work and valued co-workers can be discouraging, but volunteering often fills that need to make a difference. Whether you would like to share your skills and experience to benefit local nonprofits, wish to make new friends, want to practice skills in preparation for re-entering the job market, or seek to help an organization that has helped you, volunteering is your ticket to post-retirement fulfillment.

With a few hours weekly or monthly, you can give assistance that will have a powerful impact on the wellbeing of your community’s most senior residents. Helping to prepare or deliver Meals on Wheels to homebound elders is one of the most important volunteer supports in every community. Elders who cannot prepare a hot meal for themselves depend on the meals drivers to bring sustaining food with a smile. This delivery also serves as a wellness check that can alert caregivers when a senior is having difficulties of any type. Meals drivers decrease loneliness, increase health and wellbeing, and always know that their volunteer efforts make a definite difference in the lives of their clients.

With a few hours weekly or monthly, you can give assistance that will have a powerful impact on the wellbeing of your community’s most senior residents.

Some other volunteer assignments that support seniors are money management volunteers who help elders pay their bills, long-term care ombudsman volunteers who visit seniors in nursing homes, and Med-Ride drivers who take seniors to medical appointments. RSVP of the Pioneer Valley can offer many volunteer options, you make the choice that fits you best, and we facilitate the match. Challenge your interests and skills and make a difference.

In Franklin and Hampshire counties, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager, 413-387-1286. In Hampden County contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Volunteer Coordinator, 413-387-1286. We look forward to hearing from you.

two female volunteers at workRSVP of the Pioneer Valley has over 600 volunteers who serve at more than 65 nonprofit agencies throughout Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties. Our volunteers represent a wide variety of skills, interests, and lifestyles and many are still working. RSVP’s “Experience On Call” program is an answer for many who are busy but still want to help their communities.

The possibilities are as varied as our volunteers’ interests, skills and availability.

“Experience On Call” is not a regular weekly or monthly commitment. It provides the opportunity to volunteer for specific, time-limited events and projects. Volunteers help with setup and registration for art and health fairs, 5K runs and fundraising events, provide consultation for information technology projects, clear hiking paths, serve on building project planning boards, and decorate historic homes for the holidays. The possibilities are as varied as our volunteers’ interests, skills and availability.

If you are at least 55 years old and want to volunteer but are too busy for a regular long term commitment, “Experience on Call” may be the right fit for you to gain confidence, experience a continued sense of purpose, support your community, and choose just the projects and events that interest you the most.

To get started, contact your volunteer connectors, Ginger Elliott, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Hampden County),  413-387-1296; or Pat Sicard,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Hampshire & Franklin Counties), 413-387-1286.

Female volunteer showing man a booklet while sitting on couchAccording to AARP at Create the Good, “Volunteering makes an immeasurable difference in the lives of others. But did you know how much you help yourself by giving back?”

Benefits of volunteering to older adults can include lowering stress, finding new friends and social opportunities, and gaining confidence and a continued sense of purpose. Aren’t you more interesting company when you have something to talk about?

That feeling of happiness and well-being comes from a release of dopamine in the brain, and helping others has that exact same effect.

Brain Benefits for Seniors Who Volunteer, a 2009 study by Johns Hopkins University revealed that “volunteering increases brain functioning because activity gets you moving and thinking at the same time.” Volunteers also experience “The Happiness Effect” which is similar to the aftermath of a vigorous workout. That feeling of happiness and well-being comes from a release of dopamine in the brain, and helping others has that exact same effect. So, the more you volunteer, the happier you become!

As the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” goes, use those extra hours in your weekly schedule for good to help your brain and your neighbors. Share your skills and experience to benefit elders who are trying to remain independent in their own homes by volunteering for programs such as LifePath’s Money Management program.

RSVP of the Pioneer Valley is the volunteer connector for adults 55 and older who have some time and wish to help with meals programs, rides to medical appointments, or help with bill paying. RSVP offers options: You choose and we facilitate the match.

Want more suggestions to challenge your interests and skills? Contact Pat Sicard, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-387-1286.

Kendall BrowningKendall Browning, Meals on Wheels volunteerWhether you would like to share your skills and experience to benefit local nonprofits, wish to make new friends, want to practice skills in preparation for entering the job market, or seek to help an organization that has helped you, volunteering is your ticket to fulfillment. RSVP of the Pioneer Valley is the volunteer connector for adults 55 and older who have a few hours a week or month to give a wide variety of supportive help that will have a powerful impact on the wellbeing of area residents. We offer the options, you make the choice that fits you best, and we facilitate the match.

A few examples of RSVP service include support at food banks and survival centers, helping seniors with bill paying or insurance information, raising funds for special projects, visiting isolated seniors at their homes or in nursing homes, driving seniors to medical appointments, and assisting agencies with special or fund raising events.

RSVP of the Pioneer Valley is the volunteer connector for adults 55 and older who have a few hours a week or month to give a wide variety of supportive help that will have a powerful impact on the wellbeing of area residents.

Franklin County has a variety of interesting volunteer opportunities. At LifePath, this includes data entry, helping clients with bill paying, delivering Meals on Wheels, driving to medical appointments, and visiting residents of local nursing homes. The Erving Senior Center would welcome a volunteer Tai Chi instructor and a graphic artist.

For more engaging opportunities to challenge your interests and skills, contact Pat Sicard, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Pat at 413-387-1286. Getting started is easy with RSVP.

The Retired Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) began as a national program, authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1969, to create opportunities for engagement, activity, and growth for older Americans. It became a presence in Hampshire County in 1973, in Franklin County in 1999, and in Hampden County in 2017.  In the course of our 45-year history in the Pioneer Valley, RSVP at different times has functioned as a part of the Hampshire County Action Commission and the United Way. Currently, we are under the umbrella of the Hampshire Council of Governments.

In 2003, RSVP received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for outstanding and invaluable service to the community.  In 2010, RSVP was awarded a Programs of National Significance grant to expand our award-winning Healthy Bones & Balance program. In 2018, eight of our volunteers were honored with a President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for completing 4,000 or more hours of service to improve the quality of life here in the Pioneer Valley.

The mission of RSVP has always been to work closely with local organizations to develop interesting volunteer assignments, and to provide mature men and women with a host of service opportunities.  Today, RSVP of the Pioneer Valley partners with more than 60 agencies and almost 650 volunteers to help make our communities grow and prosper.

If you are 55 years or older, whatever your background, skills, and interests, RSVP will match you with a rewarding volunteer opportunity.  Residents of Hampshire and Franklin Counties should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., telephone 413-387-4558 x1; residents of Hampden County should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., telephone 413-387-4558 x5.

Become a part of RSVP history!