May is the month to celebrate National Senior Corps Week (May 15-29, 2017) as well as Older American’s Month, honoring America’s aging population as well as highlighting their significant impact within their communities.

    May is the month to celebrate National Senior Corps Week (May 15-29, 2017) as well as Older American’s Month, honoring America’s aging population as well as highlighting their significant impact within their communities.   

    Throughout the Country and Minnesota, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of the Red River Valley engages people aged 55 and older in meaningful service opportunities. The contributions of volunteers within rural MN counties is priceless.  Inspiring a younger generation, seniors are taking charge of themselves, their wellness and independence, while meeting the needs of their neighbors and communities. RSVP calls upon older adults to share their experience, skills and talents through volunteer activities.  

    In the past year alone, more than 56,000 service hours were amassed by RSVP volunteers within Polk, Norman, Pennington, Red Lake, Kittson, Roseau and Marshall counties.  

    The definition of aging has taken on new meaning for a generation of older adults.  In keeping with Older American’s Month theme for 2017, “Age Out Loud,” RSVP recognizes National Senior Corp Week by giving readers a taste of the boldness, confidence and passion that senior volunteers exude.  RSVP’s Advisory Board members recently interviewed the oldest, active volunteer within each of the Northwest Minnesota Counties served.

    Their answers reveal a commitment to kindness and giving that is both inspirational and personally rewarding:

    • How has volunteering brought meaning to your life?
    • What is your most memorable moment during volunteering?
    • What is one thing you would say to someone who believes they don’t have time to volunteer?

ELIZABETH YEADO, Marshall County

    • “Is so rewarding to know you have helped someone with a small task and now have a friend to enjoy.”

    • “Folks at the ODC – they appreciate the small things, like serving a cookie for lunch.”

    • “Everyone has some spare time… You receive more rewards than the people you are doing a small chore for.”

L. ELEANORE CHRISTIANSON, Red Lake County

    • “It’s good to get out and mix with people.

    • “It’s just so fun to see the people and visit with them.  That always makes it a good memory for me.”

    • “You should try it once, you might like it.”

DOLLY MERKENS, Norman County

    • “It makes you feel good to give people what they need.”

    • “I love going to work because there are so many people that are so grateful.”

    • “It give you a good feeling to help others out.”

ARDELL SNARE, Roseau County

    • “I love doing this to help people in need. It gives me great satisfaction.”

    • “Think of others before yourself.. you can always find time to do for others.”

ALLEN PEDERSEN, Polk County

    • “It gives me the ability to help and to serve.  It’s like giving Widman’s Candy away.”

    • “Being Santa Claus for Home Delivered Meals and participating with the residents.  A little 5 year old girl comes to the garden and takes off her shoes… gives me hugs and calls me grandpa.”

    • “You can make time if you’re interested.”

GLADYS LANG, Kittson County

    • “It’s a social event… being around others.”

    • “A break in your day.”

    • “Take the time; you won’t miss that time at all.  Of course, if your health permits.”

GERALD PETERSON, Pennington County

    • “It’s what you get back from it.”

    • “When I received the Volunteer Hall of Fame Award in 2015 from Lutheran Social Service.”

    • “There is no such thing as you don’t have time.  You just make time.”

    RSVP supports volunteers in Northwest Minnesota through financial assistance from State and Federal government, United Way of Crookston, and the Counties of Polk, Pennington, Norman, Red Lake, Kittson, and Roseau.  

    RSVP has been sponsored by the University of Minnesota Crookston for 42 years.  
    Please contact RSVP Director Tammy Frohlich to learn more about opportunities to serve and programs available to help seniors age in place: 281-8289 or tsykes@umn.edu.