Theresa Rose, North Forty News staff writer
Jeanne Mackenzie is the Senior Corps-RSVP Program Coordinator for Northern Colorado Services. RSVP, which stands for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program is the Colorado Branch of the Volunteers of America. Seniors helping seniors is of benefit to both parties. Mackenzie plays a leading role in pairing need with service.
A senior volunteer must be 55 or older with a desire to give back to the community, have experience and skills to offer, want to explore new career opportunities and meet great people! The SeniorCorps-RSVP is a national service program and one of the largest service volunteer networks in America. In 2017, the agency reported its Larimer County volunteers logged 93,156 hours, employed 798 volunteers and served 65 nonprofit partner agencies. Some of the services include Meals on Wheels, a lunch service called the VOA Café, offering communal dining, a caregiver support program, a grocery shopping program, a handyman program and supportive services for veterans and their families. RSVP also partners with numerous agencies from the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way to Hearts and Horses Therapeutic Riding.
Mackenzie would like to encourage more volunteers, as the organization is always in need. Retirees accustomed to a purpose in life may enjoy the freedom of retirement for a time, but then become bored or even depressed at having nothing useful to contribute. Mackenzie said RSVP can bridge the gap. Volunteers also are known to be healthier and live longer. They also have a chance to build a new resume and add new skills.
RSVP provides benefits to its volunteers. A senior volunteer not only receives the satisfaction of providing important services, in return, there is Supplemental Volunteer Insurance, including accidental medical, auto liability and personal liability for the duration of their service. The volunteer receives a monthly eNewsletter, access to outings and events just for fun such as hikes, sporting events, beer gardens and Larimer County landmark tours. Also, a volunteer is placed according to their own skills, abilities and schedule.
Every year, the local RSVP holds a volunteer appreciation picnic at Spring Canyon Park some time in late August or early September. Those who are considering volunteering are welcome to attend. For dates and times or just to inquire about becoming volunteers, Mackenzie is available at 970-472-9630, Ext. 21 or firstname.lastname@example.org.