This is a great story.
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Rock County, Wis., is connecting people 55 and older with volunteer opportunities in their region. Custom screen-printed tote bags help thank volunteers while spreading the word about the organization itself.
RSVP of Rock County allows seniors to give back through intergenerational activities, like volunteering at after-school programs and folk fairs for children, working at food pantries, visiting isolated individuals, serving on boards of directors and much more.
“Some of them are just so excited to do things. I have people that volunteer in their home, who can’t get out to do anything anymore. They’ll call and visit with people. So even people who are homebound get to do something,” explains Patty Hansberry, Seniors Volunteering for Seniors Coordinator for the RSVP of Rock County.
As one of many RSVP chapters throughout the state of Wisconsin, the Rock County organization has more than 500 active volunteers, who are showing no signs of slowing down.
“From an administrative standpoint, we are always looking at our base of volunteers. And this program is for people 55 and older, and when I first came 14 or 15 years ago the mean age was 78,” explains Bob Harlow, executive director of the RSVP of Rock County. “The mean age now is about 75 and what that tells me is we’re able to recruit younger volunteers, which I think is good for the longevity of the program.”
While older volunteers tend to move toward ongoing task-based work, newer volunteers seem to be looking for professional, one-time opportunities, like serving on boards. “I think both of those sets of volunteers get a sense of fulfillment out of being productive and overall improving the quality of life of folks in the communities,” says Harlow.
As a recipient of a 4imprint one by one® grant, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Rock County ordered screen-printed tote bags as volunteer appreciation gifts. They handed out the bags at their 45th volunteer recognition dinner. RSVP selected the Pisces Pocket Tote, which not only helps volunteers carry the books and pens they need to do their work, but also promotes their organization.
“We gave them out at the end of the night,” explained Hansberry. “The volunteers that come in now talk about how nice they are to have, and that they really appreciate them.”