RSVP Volunteer Program
Retired & Senior Volunteer Program
As we transition into Phase 4, we anticapate some stations being able to welcome volunteers back into their agency. Please check back for any updates.
Macon County Office
302 S. Union, Decatur, IL 62522
803 W. Leander, Clinton, IL 61727
What is RSVP?
The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has been sponsored by Dove, Inc. since 1976. RSVP works with individuals 55 and older to enhance their volunteer roles in their own communities. RSVP recruits volunteers and nonprofit agencies and matches their respective skills and needs. The program has no restriction based upon experience, education, disability, race, income, religion or current employment. The amount of service can vary from a few hours a month to almost full time depending upon your preference.
The Advisory Council meets monthly to discuss ideas for effective program practices and receive suggestions about how RSVP can creatively provide tangible benefits to meet the needs of the community. The RSVP program receives funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, Senior Corp division, the Illinois Department on Aging, fund-raising projects, and generous individuals in the community.
What do Volunteers do?
Volunteers work with nonprofit agencies in the community. Examples are:
- deliver books and meals
- be a classroom aide, mentor or tutor
- data entry, answer phones and filing
- guide museum and zoo tours
- quilt, knit, crochet or sew
- clothing rooms or gift shops
- offer respite care
- assist in hospitals
- friendly visiting
- translate periodicals into Braille
- test blood pressure
- call Bingo or play a musical instrument
- environmental guides
- teach dancing or exercise classes
The variety of wondrous and delightful adventures is limited only by your imagination.
Why be a RSVP Volunteer?
The time you give and satisfaction you receive comes back to you many times over. You will have the opportunity to remain active and involved which promotes a healthier life style, share your skills and knowledge with people and organizations who need your expertise, meet new people and make new friends, and you will be contributing to the improvement of your community.
RSVP provides volunteers with additional accident and liability insurance while they are volunteering. Volunteers are the most valuable resource of this program, they are appreciated daily, and formally recognized for their dedication. In addition, RSVP volunteers receive the bonus of many opportunities giving back to the community and socializing with others.
How do I Join?
Filling out an enrollment form begins the membership process. Print out the application or contact a staff member for additional information. Orientations are given in small groups and individualized to meet people's needs. Staff will then assist you to find a volunteer opportunity that is just right for you.
Frequently Asked Q & A
Why should I sign up with RSVP if I am already volunteering?
When you join RSVP, you joins hundreds of other volunteers to demonstrate the wealth of caring and sharing among seniors, It eliminates stereotypes about seniors no longer contributing to their communities. You become a part of the RSVP ‘family’ and receive our modest benefits, invitation to recognition events, DoveTales newsletter, aid to finding the perfect volunteer ‘job’, and help with any problems related to your volunteer opportunity.
As a member of RSVP I wish to volunteer with other organizations, of which organization do I consider myself a part?
BOTH. Belonging to both organizations just makes you a part of the larger volunteer community. Very often you see volunteers wearing more than one name badge. It’s okay to be part of many organizations. The most important thing is to stay active and help in the community where it is needed.
Will I be getting called to do things all the time?
Not if you prefer. We let you tell us how many or how few volunteer opportunities are the right amount for you. If you let us know your preference, we can do a better job of matching you to a potential volunteer opportunity.
Why do I have to keep track of my volunteer hours on a time sheet?
The time sheet allows us to keep accurate records of who is volunteering, what they are doing, and how much time they are spending at a particular volunteer site. We use this information for reporting to the federal, state and local government as well as to organizations from whom we receive funding. It is also a way to track community needs because the time sheets show us where volunteers are putting in their time. Our records show others about seniors and what an asset they are to their community, and it certainly tells a powerful story about all of you.
As a volunteer with the RSVP program, what counts?
Here are a few answers:
- Transporting an elderly neighbor to the bank, grocery store, or to a doctor’s appointment
- Performing home repairs for a disabled couple down the street whenever they need help
- Driving Meals on Wheels routes
- Helping neighborhood kids with their homework
- Visiting someone in a nursing home
- Being a teacher’s aid at the local school
- Participating as a Board member for a nonprofit agency or serving on a City Commission
- Serving meals at a funeral dinner
- Sewing quilts for a fund-raising charity event
- Assisting at an information desk
- Being a host or hostess at the hospital waiting room.
Generally, if you volunteer for a nonprofit agency in the community or perform a service for which you do not get paid, it counts. Just put it on your time sheet, and if there are questions we will give you a call.
Senior Companion Program
Exciting News to share with you all.
We are excited to share with you that Dove Inc. has a new program starting called Senior Companion Program. The program is part of the Senior Corps and fits in nicely with what we do here at Dove and supports Dove Inc's mission. RSVP Director Charlie Gillaspie will oversee this new program, and we have hired Ms. Kathy Walters as the Program Coordinator. Kathy will be full-time Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. She will be sharing an office with Paula Owens, RSVP Specialist on the lower level.
The Senior Companion program recruits volunteers to give friendship and assistance to homebound seniors that have difficulty with daily living tasks. The Senior Companion Program or SCP pairs active seniors with older adults who aren't as independent or mobile. In addition to companionship, senior companions can prepare a light lunch, give medication reminder, read mail, and other quality of life activities. Senior Companions are also able to help provide family caregivers much-needed respite so they can take care of themselves.
Senior Companion Volunteers must be 55 years of age or better, go through background checks and training to participate, and must commit to 20 hours per week. In return, Senior Companions are provided with monthly in-service training that keeps them up to date on best practices for the elderly clients they provide companionship or family respite service. Companions are offered a small stipend for their service and support from knowledgeable staff.
This program is made possible with a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. We look forward to getting this program up and running soon. Stay tuned to learn more shortly.