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About Senior Corps 
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Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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For Organizations > Tools, Training, and Information >
 
Program Spotlight

 

Five County RSVP

   
Overview: When a recent flood washed away 23 homes and damaged 60 others in Washington County in southwest Utah, 6,000 of the county’s 112,000 residents pitched in over the next two weeks. Many of them are among the 1,550 volunteers who serve regularly with the Five County RSVP, based in St. George. Washington County is one of the 20 fastest growing counties in the country, with many people retiring there, drawn by the mild weather, scenic beauty and good medical services. As people arrive in droves (the population is projected to hit 265,000 by 2015), those droves sign up to volunteer. RSVP Director Linda Sappington reports that it’s not unusual for three or four people to walk in every day looking for volunteer opportunities. As is typical for volunteers, they’re recruited by word of mouth. Most have heard of the RSVP program through a friend, relative, or neighbor.
   
The Results: The Five County RSVP, which includes Iron, Beaver, and Kane Counties, in addition to Washington, has 100 stations in the region and is proactive at looking at all options for volunteers. With the influx of new residents, there is no problem attracting baby boomers. Still, there are challenges involved in overseeing programs in an urban setting (Washington County), compared to rural Iron County, and the three counties whose populations are sparse enough to earn them a “frontier” designation.
   
Why It Works: Most volunteers get started ushering at a local amphitheater; about 2,200 volunteers are placed there each summer. The chance to see a performance for free is a big draw for low-income seniors. The program takes advantage of that interest by having each potential usher fill out a form stating their volunteer interests and skills. Staff members then ask if they would like to participate in other volunteer activities based on those skills and interests. The answer is often yes, so in short order, a senior who enjoys painting may be tapped to teach an art class to school children. Retired school teachers and anyone with a background in corrections is likely to be asked to tutor inmates at the local prison. Recognizing the high correlation between illiteracy and crime, the program places about 50 volunteers to work with inmates who can’t read.
   
Lessons: Word of mouth can get people in the door, but matching their volunteer assignments to their passions is what keeps them coming back.
   
Contact: For further information, contact Linda Sappington, (435) 674-5757 or email [email protected].
   

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