The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program began in our area in 1973 to serve the community in Montgomery County and Radford. There are currently more than 250 senior volunteers, age 55 and older, and more than 34 workstations. RSVP provides transportation to and from volunteer assignments. Volunteers work at stations that best suit their skills and interests. They are given an opportunity to apply skills from past experience or to learn from new experiences.
Our services benefit the environment, nonprofit organizations, community organizations and many people of all ages. Volunteers have adopted Pandapas Pond in cooperation with the Blacksburg Ranger District as a monthly clean up site. Nonprofit agencies such as SHARE and the Montgomery County Christmas Store recruit our services for newsletters and mass mailings, as well as volunteer participation at the site. Volunteers operate a telephone assurance program, called Telecare, in conjunction with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. They call shut-ins and elderly citizens to make sure they are safe and well. RSVP volunteers visit, do errands, make comfort items and provide transportation for elderly citizens, shut-ins and nursing home residents. "Kids and Crafts" is a program in which the volunteers have a lot of fun working with preschool children. One of our proudest achievements has been the introduction of an RSVP Scholarship Fund. RSVP volunteers raise money from local businesses to present two scholarships to local graduating seniors who wish to continue their education in the health care field.
In the past year, RSVP volunteers gave more than 54,000 volunteer hours back to the community. If we compile these hours of service at minimum wage standards, our community has received a monumental return on their investment in our program. In 1994, RSVP won the prestigious JC Penney Golden Rule Award for outstanding volunteer service by an agency. RSVP was the only volunteer program in our area to be recognized by this award. Volunteers received the 1995 Governor's Award for Volunteerism Excellence from Governor George Allen. The Governor cited the Montgomery County RSVP Program for being "a model for other volunteer organizations in the Commonwealth."
The number of people age 55 and older in the United States today is more than 32 million. In Montgomery County, the senior population represents 35 percent of all citizens. That is a lot of living and a lot of experience. The senior and retired population is one of this country's greatest national resources. Seniors have much to give and their talent and wisdom are needed at every level of American life.
Like all volunteers, seniors gain by giving, and the benefits of their efforts will work both ways. Through RSVP projects, local communities receive valuable services, while older Americans feel useful and needed. They can see the results of their efforts in the improved lives of their neighbors. The challenges and activities of their new careers as RSVP volunteers promote a longer, happier and more meaningful life.
At our 21st anniversary celebration, we were honored by a letter from several officials, including then Vice President Al Gore who wrote: "Volunteerism is one of the most meaningful ways to serve your community. The contributions you have made to your community over the last two decades speak for themselves."
We are very proud of our volunteers and their hard work given to the community over the last two decades. Your continuing support of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program helps us help others!