Helen Keller once said “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” This phrase flawlessly describes the dedication and service of individuals who volunteer through the Greater St. Cloud Area Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
RSVP is a national volunteer program, which is part of the Senior Corp, engaging men and women (age 55 or better) in meaningful volunteer service strengthening the well-being of both self and community. RSVP volunteers have been an invaluable asset to Central Minnesota since 1973 and locally serve Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties. RSVP’s aspiration is to be a “bridge between those who need and those who give” throughout central Minnesota.
RSVP volunteers serve in the areas of: education, economic opportunity, veterans and military families, healthy futures, disaster services, environment stewardship and capacity building. Providing volunteer services within these areas strengthens our community as a whole and fosters the partnerships established with agencies who address these local community needs. For many of RSVP’s community partners dedicated volunteers provide the backbone for success and often it is RSVP volunteers delivering the vital services to the clients.
Community partners, clients and RSVP staff encompass a deep gratitude for RSVP volunteers and their selfless contribution of service to our community. The St. Cloud Area School District #742 truly values the relationship which continues to grow with RSVP. In 2015, 36 volunteers served nearly 2,500 hours in the St. Cloud Area Schools. RSVP volunteers assist with a variety of tasks throughout the St. Cloud Area Schools ranging from mentoring students in the classroom to helping with one-time community events hosted by the school district. In fact, so far since the beginning of 2016, 23 volunteers have provided over 1,200 hours of volunteer service to the St. Cloud Area Schools!
The Community Education Coordinator for K-12 volunteers at St. Cloud Area Schools, Sonia Dickrell, stated “RSVP has been an outstanding community partner of St. Cloud Area School District for years. As an organization they support our efforts to meet our mission by providing recruitment and placement of one time and ongoing volunteers in our schools and programs.” Sonia also raved about RSVP volunteers and their skills saying “RSVP volunteers are known to be qualified, passionate and reliable to our staff. The positive energy and enthusiasm they [RSVP volunteers] bring every day is a joy for teachers, staff and students. RSVP volunteers who serve in the classrooms to support academics quickly become “Grandparents” of the room. The positive adult presence is valuable for creating community and supporting student growth and achievement.”
RSVP volunteers truly are heroes living and working amongst us in our community. RSVP volunteers are willing and ready to jump into action whenever they are needed. In 2015, there were 1,206 RSVP volunteers who served 154,920 hours of service at 183 human service, government and licensed health care agencies!
Thank you to all RSVP volunteers who serve throughout the Greater St. Cloud area; you are certainly working together to achieve more and conquer a positive outcome. There is no part of our community which remains untouched by RSVP volunteers and together you are generating a positive impact to the success and growth of the Greater St. Cloud area.
William Shakespeare said “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” RSVP is currently seeking additional volunteers who would like to share their gifts. To learn more about becoming an RSVP volunteer, please contact the RSVP office at (320) 255-7295 or visit the RSVP website at http://ci.stcloud.mn.us/RSVP.