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RSVP Celebrates Volunteers’ Commitment to Students In North Central Iowa

Volunteers with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in North Central Iowa were honored recently at an ice cream social for the contribution of their time and talents to elementary and middle school students throughout the region. The event was held in conjunction with Senior Corps Week, May 7-11.

The volunteer celebration was held May 10 in the Activity Center at NIACC, which sponsors RSVP. Heritage Care & Rehabilitation Center in Mason City, owned and operated by ABCM Corporation, was the Platinum Sponsor for the 2012 celebration.

Terry Schumaker, dean of Continuing Education at NIACC, welcomed volunteers to the event. The afternoon included a keynote address by Shelly Schmit, PhD, vice president of institutional effectiveness and organizational development at NIACC, the presentation of lifetime service awards to volunteers, and musical entertainment by the Newman Knightsingers.

Schmit told those gathered that she was pleased to see bookmarks at each place setting emblazoned with “Making a Difference for Generations,” noting that the work they do with struggling readers affects more than just that student that year. It affects the student’s future success, she said, and their achievements affect the success of their future generations. “Making a Difference for Generations” was the theme for Senior Corps Week.

“This is what happens,” Schmit said. “You make a difference in the lives of children. Because what you do today will impact those students and their families in the future. And for that, we thank you.”

The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation was established in 2003 to recognize the contributions volunteers make in their communities. The Council established a President’s Volunteer Service Award as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. Measured by the cumulative hours earned over a lifetime, three levels of awards are given: Bronze awards (100 to 249 lifetime service hours), Silver awards (250 to 499 lifetime service hours) and Gold awards (500+ hours).

Volunteers with RSVP of North Central Iowa who were recognized for reaching one of these lifetime award levels, include:

Buffalo Center: Pam Angstman
Forest City: JoAnn Bartleson, Karolyn Overlie
Mason City: Charlotte Locher

Britt: Myra Bowman, Judy Eckels, Beverly Nelson, Carole Penning
Clear Lake: Joyce Knorr, Sandy Nyhus

Garner: Kay Karsjens

Joice: Judy Tenold

Kanawha: Kathryn Johnson

Mason City: Coni Samsel, Karen Slife
Northwood: Janis Borum

RSVP Director Molly Anderegg reviewed the program contributions during the past year:
– 134 volunteers gave 2,364 hours of service working with 275 students in the Reading Buddy program at 12 elementary schools.
– 32 volunteers gave 517 hours of service working with 64 middle school students in the Reading Coach program at four schools.
– 15 volunteers gave 285 hours of service working with 49 students in the Breakfast Buddy program at three elementary schools.
– Volunteers folded 300 miniature flags and included notes that were delivered to members of the military serving on the front lines overseas.
– NIACC staff, students and RSVP volunteers wrote letters to military men and women during National Military Month in November, thanking them for their service.

She also thanked the Advisory Council for their commitment to the program. “This has been another year of change and, more importantly, growth for RSVP,” Anderegg said. “As we prepare for a new competitive grant process, the Advisory Council continues to provide much needed leadership and direction. We are grateful for their contributions.”

Advisory Council members include: Joe Angstman, Adriana Attleson, James Becker, Janis Borum, Tony Coloff, Mike Ebaugh, Tim Fleming, Brenda Hanson, Joan Hanson, Connie Hunget, Andy Hill, John Severtson, and Sharon Steckman. The council members represent each of the four counties RSVP serves: Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago, and Worth.

RSVP conducted a food drive in conjunction with its annual celebration and collected 201 food items from NIACC staff and students as well as from volunteers attending the event. The food and cash donations were distributed to food banks in RSVP’s four-county service area.

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