Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)
The New York State Office for the Agingâ€™s (NYSOFA) Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) supplements a similar program supported by the Federal Government through the Corporation for National Service and is the largest older adult volunteer program in the nation. The RSVP program recruits, trains and places senior volunteers over the age of 55 in a host of community-based human service agencies. In 2012-13, New York State appropriated $216,500 for the RSVP program.
The many impact areas for RSVP include: senior citizen health promotion and wellness; assistance to frail and vulnerable elderly persons in the areas of home visiting, escort, transportation, home-delivered meals, etc.; and cross-generational efforts in tutoring and mentoring children.
In Madison County, RSVP volunteers are trained to teach the evidence-based Bone Builders exercise program. Weekly and biweekly group exercise sessions help older participants improve their bone density, strength and balance. In Ulster County, RSVP volunteers provide older adults with dependable transportation to medical appointments and shopping helping them to remain in their own homes. Volunteers in Cattaraugus County deliver meals to homebound participants out of 13 different nutrition sites in this rural county. These are just a few examples of the ways RSVP volunteers make a difference in the lives of those they serve.
There are 38 RSVP programs funded by New York State. In 2011-12 more than 1,600 volunteers provided 148,000 hours of service to various projects across New York at an estimated value of almost $3 million. These volunteers play a key role in supporting the network of 59 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) in New York.
RSVP volunteers receive out-of-pocket expenses, such as mileage and carfare, as well as lunch at volunteer stations.
RSVP goals include:
- Develop a variety of opportunities for community service for older people willing to share their experience, abilities, and skills for the betterment of their community and themselves.
- Ensure that volunteer assignments are made consistent with the interests and abilities of the volunteers and the needs of the community served.
- Ensure that volunteers are provided needed orientation, in-service instruction, individual support and supervision, and recognition for their volunteer service.
- Provide reasonable opportunity for community and volunteer involvement and support the development, operation, and appraisal of the RSVP project.
- Develop local support to supplement available Federal sources and ensure that program expenditures are incurred at the lowest possible cost consistent with the effective operation of the project, as required by the Corporationâ€™s legislation.
- Cooperate with agencies and organizations involved in the fields of aging and voluntarism.
- Develop a sound, locally controlled senior volunteer program with continuing community support.