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RSVP to hold open house Wednesday

Volunteer program closed in Hamilton County in 2011; Part-time coordinator to head up services here

August 28, 2012
Anne Blankenship ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

Area seniors interested in getting involved in volunteer activities will once again have an outlet for those efforts. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is returning to Hamilton and Webster counties. The group will hold an open house Wednesday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Webster City Senior Citizens Center to introduce the staff, outline plans for RSVP and new opportunities for volunteers, according to Kalen Petersen, Central Iowa RSVP director.

RSVP is a national service program that offers adult volunteers 55 and older opportunities to share their skills, interests and life experiences in response to a wide variety of community needs, according to Petersen. RSVP recruits and places volunteers with public, nonprofit and health care agencies to collaborate to provide volunteer management support. She said RSVP volunteers don't replace paid staff, but provide support to supplement or enhance services of an organization.

Federal funding cuts last year forced the closing of many RSVP offices throughout the state, including those in Webster City and Fort Dodge. Central Iowa RSVP, based out of Story City, serves Story, Marshall and now Hamilton and Webster Counties. A part-time coordinator has been hired to serve Hamilton and Webster counties. Petersen said the new coordinator would likely spend one to two days per week in each county.

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An RSVP open house will be held Wednesday at the Webster City Senior Center. The building was also the home of the local RSVP office until it closed in 2011.

Peterson said state funding has allowed the program to be reestablished in the county. She encouraged all those age 55 and older to attend the open house to learn more about the program.

"The program offers people 55 and up a chance to get involved. We'll have some new things but will also bring back some of the services that were displaced when the office closed," she said.

The agency has also applied for federal funds, which if received, could bring a full-time coordinator to Hamilton County.

"If we are able to get those funds, we'll have more of an impact in Hamilton County and be able to offer more," she said.

Decisions on the federal funds are expected in September.

Petersen said she had not yet talked with city officials or senior citizen representatives about using the former office space located in the Senior Center should funds be available. The office has remained unoccupied since RSVP closed June 2011. In recent months, the local senior citizens group and congregate meals site, which shares the building, have been looking at ways to keep the center open and bring in more revenue.



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