By Ashley Withrow
For Senior Voice 

A thriving group of senior volunteers


October 1, 2019

Courtesy Aleutian Pribilof Islands Assoc., Inc.

Volunteer Jean Kaufman, age 100, shows off some of her Project Warm-Up knitting handiwork and RSVP certificate of appreciation.

In July, the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc. (APIA) hosted the Third Annual Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Appreciation Luncheon.

With a cohort of more than 80 volunteers ranging from ages 55 to 90, these volunteers contribute their lifetime acquired skills, knowledge and service to the communities of Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. As part of the national Senior Corps group through the Corporation for National and Community Service,  APIA has 17 partner organizations through the RSVP program that provide site locations for RSVP members to showcase their skills and knowledge and provide service to their community. In one full 12-month year, the RSVP members collectively served 20,465 hours in the community. That is equivalent to almost ten full-time, 40-hour-a-week seasoned employees.

The contributions these RSVP volunteers make are impactful and vast. Their service ranges from companionship with other seniors in the community to helping deliver meals to homebound individuals receiving meal services, to fundraising thousands of dollars for local nonprofits.

A handful of these RSVP volunteers also take their knitting skills to unheard of levels. In one 12-month period, RSVP volunteers that take part in Project Warm-Up were able to knit and donate a total of 701 hats and scarves in the Anchorage area. Various local schools, the Clare House, Brother Francis Shelter, Covenant House, My House, AWAIC and other local organizations were recipients of these items. This group of knitters has had a far reach in ensuring individuals stay warm through the winter months. RSVP is dedicated to providing an outlet for seniors to showcase their lifelong skills while contributing to the betterment of our community through volunteerism.

RSVP volunteers choose how, where and how often they want to serve, with commitments ranging from a few hours to 40 hours per week. If you would like to know more about the RSVP program or how to get involved, contact Sue Nick, RSVP Coordinator at (907) 276-2700.

Ashley Withrow is the Elder Program Coordinator at Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc.


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