Are you over 55 and have a desire to give back to the community in a way that fits with your level of time, energy and interests? “We’re a matchmaker for those people,” says Cathy Law, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) project manager. “If you’re over 55 and you’re willing to work for smiles, you qualify to be an RSVP volunteer.
“We have one-time projects and we have volunteers working from home several hours a month to 40 hours a week in a food bank. When we’re trying to place volunteers, we’ll ask how many hours you want to work and what you like—and we’ll find job descriptions that fit you,” says Law.
“When you’re tired of working in one area and want a change, we’ll help you find a new opportunity. We’re there for your entire volunteer career. We want you to be able to go on vacation, watch your grandkids, and do something meaningful, impactful and flexible that fits in your lifestyle.”
RSVP is a program under the umbrella of Volunteers Of America (VOA) Colorado, a 125-year-old organization. The program has 250 job descriptions in 50 non-profit agencies. Orientation is a one-hour phone call—or it may last as long as you want to talk. Law will pull job descriptions based on your interests.
Law, who has worked at VOA for 10 years, says the organization tries to see where there’s a need in the community—and then they try to fill it. “If you’re not sure how to volunteer, we’re part of a big network and have a lot of contacts with volunteer coordinators. We’ll know the name of someone to contact. Even if it’s not one of our partner agencies, we want to be sure you can volunteer doing something meaningful to you.”
Pat Roche moved to Denver from the East Coast in 2016 to live near her adult children. “I grew up in a family where my mother was involved in volunteer work…[so] it’s something I’ve been drawn to.” Through a chance contact, she found Epicurean catering and participated in their regular schedule of distributing food to the Mission downtown—and that experience brought her in contact with VOA. “It’s amazing to me how much VOA does. It’s a huge umbrella: helping women get ready for the workforce, helping veterans, even Meals on Wheels. VOA has been here [Colorado] for 125 years; they’re an amazing story. As much as I was volunteering on the East Coast, I didn’t hear about VOA there.”
Roche lives at Everleigh Central Park (formerly The Grove) and says six other residents there have registered with RSVP, and the management has been supportive of their work.
If volunteering runs in families, it’s not surprising that when another of Roche’s children moved to Denver, she called Cathy Law. Sarah Rooney works full time from home in marketing. “I like talking to different people and meeting people.” Her interests and skills led her to participate as a volunteer in the state’s contact tracing program. “People have been so responsive and appreciative,” she says, reflecting on the challenges facing a woman she called who lives on the border of Kansas and her husband was in the ICU in Denver. As the contact tracing program winds down, she has been volunteering at vaccine clinics. She says her love of gardening may lead her to look for a volunteer position at the Botanic Gardens in the future. “RSVP has been a great way to give back and really fulfilling. It’s a great organization.”
If you’re interested in volunteering with RSVP, email Cathy Law at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also email Law to have a belated Mother’s Day card made by VOA volunteers and sent to honor someone special—include name, address and brief information. To donate in support of the VOA Mother’s Day annual event, call 303.297.0408.