RSVP of Porter County Event Honors, Celebrates Volunteers

RSVP-recognition-1The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Porter County’s recent recognition event united senior volunteers for a morning of music and celebration.

Building on the 2012 National Volunteer Week theme: Celebrating People in Action, the program at Strongbow Inn was a tribute to the energy and power of volunteers. RSVP of Porter County currently has 207 volunteers working with 48 not-for-profits.

“I feel recognition is a vital part of the volunteer experience. Many of the volunteers look forward to the event and they enjoy the socialization with other volunteers,” said RSVP Director Joyce Bolin. “I attempt to keep the event light with just entertainment so the volunteers can have a good time.

“Not all of our volunteers want to be recognized at an event so I attempt to thank them either in person, a card, email or phone call. The main objective is to say ‘thank you.’”

Volunteer Shirley Hatch emphasized how seniors also benefit from their RSVP participation. She has been a member of the Bonner Senior Center choir for four years.

“When you go to the nursing homes, you feel like you are really doing something,” she said.

RSVP not only connects seniors to volunteer opportunities but also provides Medicare option counseling year-round. The SHIP - State Health Information Assistance Program - counselors provide direction during the Medicare Part D open enrollment period, which is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

RSVP-recognition-2“We are attempting to get the word out for people to review their prescription drug plan and make sure it still meets their needs. This open enrollment period is the only time of year you can change your drug plan,” Bolin said.

“Our SHIP program now has six trained volunteer counselors, with a seventh going through training in mid-October.” RSVP also continues to help area seniors build basic skills through its computer classes.

“This is a very basic class ... how to turn the computer on, maneuver the mouse, etc. By the end of the four sessions, students will have an email address and be able to go online,” she said.

Bolin looks forward to another year of service and keeping the spotlight on all of the RSVP participants.

“Our RSVP volunteers will continue serving and creating an impact throughout Porter County for years to come,” she said. “I believe each and every volunteer is ‘volunteer of the year.’”

Gold event sponsors included Life Care Center of Valparaiso, Rittenhouse Senior Living of Valparaiso and Portage and Trinity Home Health Care of Valparaiso. Silver sponsors included Arc of the Dunes Animal Hospital in Chesterton, Comfort Keepers, Endontics Inc. of Valparaiso and Horizon Bank of Valparaiso.

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Porter County connects individuals 55 and older with volunteer opportunities in schools, libraries, nursing homes and various not-for-profit organizations across the county. The program is an avenue for volunteers to utilize their life experiences and skill sets to help fulfill important needs within the community.

For more information, contact RSVP at 464-1028.

Porter County Aging and Community Services is a sponsoring agent for RSVP of Porter County, providing office space and some financial assistance. PCACS’ mission is to extend a helping hand to seniors, those who are disabled and low-income residents by providing services to improve their quality of life, including transportation, nutrition programs, energy assistance and activity centers.

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