MASON CITY – Volunteers with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of North Central Iowa were honored May 9 for another year of service to elementary and middle school students and other programs throughout RSVP’s four-county service area.
Terry Schumaker, Dean of Continuing Education at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), welcomed volunteers to the event. The event was held at NIACC, which sponsors RSVP, in the Activity Center.
The event included a keynote address by Dean Cataldo, former RSVP Advisory Council member and now a member of the NIACC Board of Directors, presentation of lifetime service awards to volunteers, a year-in-review synopsis of RSVP programs and activities and music by Betty & The Gents.
Cataldo reminded volunteers, though most are retired, of the important work they do in their communities, and the gift they have to share with the students they serve.
“You have something most young people don’t have,” Cataldo told more than 100 volunteers and guests attending the celebration, “wisdom.”
After a year or two of retirement, he said, going to coffee and having fun with their friends, retirees eventually decide “I need something more” and some become volunteers.
“As volunteers, you are giving. You are making someone a better person,” he said. “Please look at yourself as a caring individual – someone who loves what they are doing.”
In closing, he reminded the volunteers: “Never forget the power of one.”
Also at the celebration, 23 volunteers were honored with awards for their service. 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 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).
This year, Beverly Aalgaard of Thompson, currently a Reading Buddy at North Iowa Elementary School in Buffalo Center, was honored with a Gold Award for 500+ hours of service. She has been an RSVP volunteer for more than 13 years, logging 509 hours.
Other RSVP of North Central Iowa volunteers recognized for reaching a lifetime award level, include:
Britt: Teresa Leerar, West Hancock Elementary School
Forest City: Roberta Kraft-Abrahamson, Forest City Christian & Forest City Middle Schools
Mason City: Ralph Cassady, Lincoln Intermediate, Jefferson & Roosevelt Elementary Schools
Britt: Beverly Wilhite, West Hancock Elementary School
Buffalo Center: Vonnie Pilgrim-Bosma, North Iowa Middle School
Clear Lake: Ellen Anderson, Clear Lake Elementary School
Forest City: Joan Hansen, Forest City Middle School; John Sporri, Forest City Elementary School
Garner: Diane Deibler, Garner-Hayfield Elementary School; Eunice Kinsella, Ventura/Garner-Hayfield Junior High School
Kanawha: Kathryn Johnson, West Hancock Middle School
Lakota: Rena Steele, North Iowa Elementary School
Lake Mills: Darlene Behr, Lake Mills Elementary School
Mason City: Judy Bohn, Harding Elementary School; Marlene Freudenberg, Harding Elementary School; Janae Haygood, Lincoln Intermediate & Roosevelt Elementary Schools; Joyce Nielsen, Harding Elementary School; Marcia Nord, Harding, Roosevelt & Newman Catholic Elementary Schools; Letha Steinauer, Harding & Roosevelt Elementary Schools; Mary Wilson, Roosevelt Elementary School
Northwood: Sandra Nitcher, Northwood-Kensett Elementary School
Thompson: Charissa Olson, Forest City Christian School & Lake Mills Elementary Schools
RSVP Director Molly Anderegg reviewed the program contributions during the past year. A total of 307 volunteers served 5,683 hours from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. The service by program included:
* Denotes a new program
She also thanked the Advisory Council for their commitment to the program.
“It’s wonderful having council members from all four counties in the service area to ensure input and feedback from all communities served by RSVP,” stated Anderegg.
Advisory Council members include: Joe Angstman, Adriana Attleson, James Becker, Janis Borum, Tony Coloff, Mike Ebaugh, Tim Fleming, Brenda Hanson, Joan Hanson, Andy Hill, Larry Hill, Connie Hunget, Bob Perry, Verla Perry, John Severtson, and Sharon Steckman. The council members represent each of the four counties RSVP serves: Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago and Worth.
In honor of Senior Corps Week, RSVP hosted a service project as part of its annual celebration, asking attendees to bring food for the Backpack Buddy Program. Several boxes full of food were collected from the volunteers and NIACC staff.
The program, sponsored by United Way of North Central Iowa, provides food for the weekends to more than 400 students in seven counties in North Central Iowa who might otherwise go hungry. Backpacks are filled with non-perishable, easy-to-open meals and snacks. Schools in Britt, Buffalo Center, Forest City, Garner, Mason City, and Northwood participate in the Backpack Buddy Program.
For information on RSVP of North Central Iowa, visit www.niacc.edu/rsvp/ or contact 1-888-466-4222 ext. 4256, (641) 422-4256 or firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVP of North Central Iowa responds to priority community needs by providing meaningful, purposeful volunteer opportunities for people ages 55 and over. RSVP is sponsored by North Iowa Area Community College and is partly funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, State of Iowa, United Way of North Central Iowa and local county governments.