Friends RSVP provides 620 volunteers to 130 non-profit and public organizations to help them serve their clients and meet their missions. RSVP volunteers give more than 63,000 hours each year to help meet community needs in Merrimack, Rockingham, Belknap and Strafford Counties.
RSVP volunteers are engaged in more than 200 different assignments, based upon their own interests, talents and time availability. For example, they help older adults live more independently by providing transportation to medical appointments and the grocery store. They provide isolation-reducing companionship to the elderly and disabled. Others serve as tutors and mentors to children and youth. Volunteers assist with public safety, disaster preparedness and blood drives. Many volunteers organize or manage local thrift shops and food banks that make it easier for struggling individuals and families to make ends meet. They prepare and deliver thousands of meals each year. They provide clerical and other office assistance. They provide free tax preparation and assist with starting small businesses. RSVP volunteers are museum docents and cultural event ushers, organizers and fundraisers. Volunteers visit veterans homes and visit hospices to ease the pain and loneliness at the end of life. Many more opportunities are available, and new ones can be created to meet new needs.
Professional, executive, grant-writing and technical assistance is always needed to help small non-profits serve their clients. If you have a particular interest or skill you would like to share, we can find an organization that needs you!
In addition, the senior volunteers themselves gain significant benefits – they get reconnected in their communities through meaningful activities that studies show result in renewed purpose, increased physical and mental activity, better health and prolonged independence.
RSVP ALSO RUNS SIGNATURE PROGRAMS, INCLUDING:
Caregivers Program provides door-through-door transportation for medical appointments and basic needs, including staying with them to assist them, companionship and telephone reassurance. We use screened volunteer drivers, and rides are free of charge to clients. Clients must be age 60+ and be unable to access other services. Volunteers are either matched one-to-one with clients who need companionship as well as rides, or they are part of a medical transportation drivers pool.
Bone Builders senior strength exercise classes improve bone and muscle strength, balance, circulation and general health. Classes are provided twice a week, year-round at local senior centers, senior housing buildings and other locales. Currently, volunteers lead 19 classes in Merrimack, Rockingham and Belknap Counties. About 1,600 classes are taught annually.
Pen Pals Program matches seniors with 3rd graders to exchange letters during the school year. The whole class participates, and each student writes and receives letters from a matched senior Pen Pal. The students feel excitement about getting letters and, as a result, become more motivated to learn vocabulary, spelling, reading and writing. Everyone meets their Pen Pal at the end of the school year at a small party, which is rewarding for the students, seniors and teachers. Teachers report accelerated learning with the Pen Pal program.
Several other initiatives are operated by us, including collecting and donating children’s clothes; making blankets and caps for infants in poverty; supporting the Purple Cap Project to teach new mothers about the “period of purple crying,” which is the most common period of infant shaking; making military helmet caps for soldiers and sailors, and holiday gifts for service men and women; and surplus food collections.
We are especially seeking volunteers to drive pre-screened, enrolled home-bound seniors to doctors appointments and for basic needs. Volunteers can give as much or as little as they wish. Even one or two hours a month is appreciated. You can make a big difference in someone’s life! For Merrimack and Belknap Counties please call 1-800-536-1193 ext. 214. For Rockingham and Strafford Counties call 1-800-536-1193 ext. 213. Thank you!