RSVP program honoring, recruiting more volunteers

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Mar. 29, 2007 - As people around the nation are being recognized next month during National Volunteer Week, a group of local volunteers "who work tirelessly to make their communities better places to live" will also be celebrated.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Ettie Sanders with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program  volunteers her time at the Sulphur Springs Public Library. New RSVP volunteers are needed at the library, Sabine Valley Center and Hopkins County Hospice. If interested in volunteering at one of these locations, contact the RSVP office at 903-782-0440 or 903-782-0441.

The 3rd Annual Spring Recognition Banquet will be hosted during the week of April 15-21 by Hopkins County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program to honor the group of senior adults who volunteer their time and skills to serve the community through agencies such as the historical museum, quilt guilds, public library, senior citizens center and hospital.

During the special ceremony, called "A Stroll Down Memory Lane" and hosted exclusively for active RSVP members, the program will also name its Volunteer for the Year for 2006 and present its Station of the Year award to a deserving non-profit organization or a public agency that utilizes RSVP volunteers, and will also hand out Years of Service awards.

Overall, more than 180 individuals ages 55 and older volunteer their time to RSVP to assist at least a dozen locations in Hopkins County.

"Our volunteers work in positions for which they receive no funds for doing the job. They have to be at least 55 and volunteer in a number of roles and locations," said Susan Kahn, Red River Valley RSVP Project Director.

They assist by tutoring children, lending assistance at health clinics, delivering meals for programs such as Meal-A-Day, distributing food at area food banks and meeting other needs of nonprofit groups and public agencies.

RSVP is funded by a federal grant, a state grant, Lamar County United Way and a Hallmark grant that allows them to afford gifts and door prizes. The Red River Valley RSVP program coordinates volunteers for groups in Delta, Hopkins, Lamar, Red River counties.

The program currently has a need for volunteers in three Hopkins County locations. Sulphur Springs Public Library has need for volunteers to help shelve books and check out books to library visitors. Hopkins County Hospice is in need of specific individuals willing to work directly with patients as friendly visitors. BThose not up for that particular task can still assist Hospice patients indirectly by doing clerical work. Also, the Sabine Valley Behavioral Health Center (a part of Community HealthCore), recently added to the RSVP roster, is also in need of help.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of RSVP or those members interested in helping at these three centers should call the RSVP office at 903-782-0440 or 903-782-0441, for more information.

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