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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

 

Delaware County RSVP

   
Overview: At a recent luncheon honoring the Delaware County RSVP’s volunteers, the band sponsored by the organization provided entertainment so lively that the volunteers filled the dance floor. Several times a month, a singing group that has been sponsored by the RSVP for 20 years visits local nursing homes to perform. Just as frequently, volunteers who have participated in training as clowns by the organization brighten the days of children in hospitals, while those who have undergone additional “therapeutic” clown training spend time with Alzheimer’s patients. The RSVP also sponsors a reading program at 45 of the county’s 65 elementary schools; a pen-pal program that links homebound seniors with fourth and fifth graders; disaster preparedness training; and a speakers’ bureau with volunteers providing information on everything from World War II history to environmental challenges. There is enough to keep a roster of more than 900 suburban Philadelphia volunteers busy.
   
The Results: Norma Testa, director of the Delaware County RSVP, comes up with creative ideas by paying attention to what other organizations do. She found a local professional clown to offer training to volunteers after learning that another RSVP has a similar program. After attending a conference that featured a band sponsored by an RSVP project, she returned home and sent out a press release inviting musicians to attend a meeting to get a group together. The band does more than provide entertainment to listeners. It also provides people who had to give up marching with bands a way to continue playing music. The band, the singing group, and the clowns all have added benefits—their performances result in increased awareness of the RSVP’s programs and in donations of about $300 a month.
   
Why It Works: RSVP director Norma Testa points to her ongoing relationship with local media as a way to publicize activities, recruit volunteers, and strengthen community support for the organization.
   
Lessons: Delaware County RSVP has come up with creative ideas for addressing issues, but creativity isn’t enough to make a program successful. The most important criteria for any service project is meeting a community need. The organizations focuses on addressing community needs first, then securing the support of community partners, such as school administrators for the reading program, to establish a good working relationship.
   
Contact: For information, contact Norma Testa, (610) 432-6650,  [email protected].
   

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