PDT Staff Writer
The Retired Senior Volunteers Program is back, under a new umbrella.
RSVP closed its doors in August of 2011, but now it has returned and the program that welcomes volunteers over the age of 55 to work in local non-profit organizations is now located in the Red Cross Building at 1801 Robinson Avenue in Portsmouth.
“We’re under the sponsorship of the Corporation for Appalachian Development, so we have a multi-county (Scioto, Lawrence, Pike) program,” Susan Rogers, Regional Director of the Ohio Valley RSVP, said. “There were shake-ups in the funding streams, and it was actually very hard for any single county program to continue to manage. So the advantage that we have is we have multiple counties, which cuts down on the administrative cost per county.”
Rogers said when the federal government announced it was accepting Requests For Proposals and going to bring back some of the programs involved with RSVP it only brought back about 30 percent of those programs.
“We decided it was something that our area needed, so we wrote the application and we’re very pleased that we’re one of the 30 percent in the country that accepted,” Rogers said. “So we cover Pike County and we cover Lawrence County, so it just makes sense to fill in the void and to bring the services back because it was such an active program and a necessary program, I think.”
In charge of reconstructing the program, with several new changes brought on by new federal mandates, is Libby Brisker, Scioto County Coordinator for the Ohio Valley RSVP program.
“I applied for this position because I live in Portsmouth and I was driving to Oak Hill for work and had lost my job there because of funding cuts, and I saw this job in the paper. And when I realized it was for RSVP and it was for placing volunteers, I was just very excited to apply for that because it was something that I was interested in and I realized the value of volunteer work,” Brisker said. “I’m just tickled to death to be working in Scioto County, because I grew up here, went to school here, went to college here, worked away, but I’m back.”
Brisker said the goal now is to reach out to any resident in Scioto County who is 55 or older to become volunteers. At the same time, RSVP is looking for stations, which would be private or non-profit organizations where volunteers would be needed.
Anyone wanting to be a volunteer, or an organization that needs volunteers, should contact the local RSVP office at 740-353-8810, or stop in to the office at 1801 Robinson Avenue in Portsmouth. Brisker and Rogers took the time to thank Jeff Smith of State Farm for the use of the building, and Mary Arnzen of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross for sharing office space.
On Tuesday, Feb. 26, there will be a meet and greet at the office from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“People can come in, we’ll go over the enrollment form, the handbook, and they can go ahead and sign up then,” Brisker said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.