By Bob Massey
Volunteering was the topic of discussion at a recent Heights Kiwanis Club meeting.
Guest speakers C.J. Jones, RSVP coordinator for Killeen in Bell County and Copperas Cove in Coryell County, and Ronnie Ault, representing the Hill Country Community Action Association and RSVP, shared the floor.
RSVP is a national program that invites adults to put their experience to work solving problems close to home. It could be teaching children or adults to read, creating a recycling program or providing support to nonprofit agencies.
The purpose of the RSVP Volunteer Program is to develop a meaningful life for older adults who are 55 and older, according to Ault.
“The program serves nine counties in the immediate area. RSVP recruits for all agencies and ages and we don’t turn anyone away,” she said. “It’s designed to help volunteers accomplish their personal goals and keep people from sitting at home and rusting away from within.”
One of RSVP’s signature programs is aimed at keeping frail elderly people living independently at home with the dignity they deserve, Ault said.
Volunteers assist by mowing yards, trimming trees, taking people to the doctor and other appointments or simply taking someone for a leisurely drive.
“Those who are homebound need opportunities to see the changes in their communities and neighborhoods,” said Ault.
The median age for volunteers is currently 74 and there are two ladies who are more than 100 years old who still volunteer in the RSVP program.
“I had a 100-year-old volunteer tell me at a senior center that she was helping the old people with their lunches,” she said. “We could use many of you in this club for some of our special projects such as MLK Day, Rehab for Wounded Warriors, baking cookies for delivery to the Rehab Center and Make a Difference Day.”
Jones added that it’s important for people who want to volunteer to get connected with RSVP.
“By making that connection I can help you and you can help me,” she said.
Call Jones at 254-699-3194 or Ault at 866-327-5167, ext. 252.