RSVP already has a stable of nearly 350 volunteers, most of whom are 70 years and older even though the program is open to those 55 years and older, said Joyce Bolin, director.
Volunteers help out at various nonprofit agencies throughout the county, doing everything from crocheting hats and scarves for the area homeless shelters to mentoring elementary students to helping at one-day events such as a jail-and-bail event designed to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association
But the emphasis is shifting.RSVP is recruiting heavily among the aging Baby Boomers, Bolin
said.The emphasis now is on seniors who are 55 to 65 years old and an aging population that delays retirement.As the volunteers' profiles change, so too have the volunteer opportunities, she
said.The idea is to offer volunteer work that interests folks who may not have lots of time or inclination to commit to long-term programs, she
"They don't want to have a major commitment," she
The focus might be on "impact-oriented" volunteer opportunities and the Baby Boomers, but Bolin
said RSVP isn't leaving behind its steady older volunteers who have faithfully committed years of service.In her more than seven years as director, Bolin said RSVP has maintained a steady number of volunteers.
Potential volunteers contact RSVP and complete an application.Then comes an interview to determine the person's interests and volunteer preferences.
"We match that person with one of the volunteer opportunities we have," Bolin
Finding just the right volunteer for a niche isn't always easy, she
said.For a year, she
has searched for someone willing to train as part of the Community Emergency Response Team.The volunteer could work on brochures to help people prepare for emergencies or become a certified emergency medical technician if he
also has trouble finding volunteers willing to call bingo numbers or help in other ways at nursing homes.RSVP also is looking for a bus monitor to help clients on the Porter County Aging and Community Services bus.
LaPorte County has volunteers who assist with vision screenings in the schools, and those volunteers are willing to come to Porter County to train others, Bolin
said.That's a "work in progress," she
Senior Health Insurance Information Program counselors were instrumental in getting the word out about Medicare Part D. They sat down with senior citizens who lack computer savvy and helped them enroll in the program, Bolin
said.With another enrollment period set to open in the fall, RSVP could use more than its current roster of three counselors for all of Porter County to help with the workload, she