RSVP Offers Volunteer Opportunities

Editor’s Note:  The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is a referral service designed to place volunteers in non-profit organizations where their knowledge and skills positively impact the community and individuals served.  The following article is part of a monthly series by RSVP highlighting the community based involvement and service of RSVP volunteers.

Pictured are RSVP volunteers Bill and Judy Swisher who are manning the Butterfly Memorial Wall at last year’s Hospice Chili Bowl. (Provided photo)

Working at many different types of assignments in various organizations throughout Clearfield County, volunteers with RSVP of Clearfield County are given opportunities to provide valuable service to organizations, their consumers and the community.  One such proprietary healthcare agency that offers very rewarding and challenging opportunities for the volunteers is the Clearfield Hospital Hospice program.

Hospice is a specialized homecare program providing support and care for terminally ill patients and their families.  A team of doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists and volunteers work together to provide patients and their families with support services during a very difficult time.  Clearfield Hospital Hospice offers many programs to meet the needs of the patients and families.

The Eleventh Hour is a program that is being offered by Clearfield Hospice.  There are some patients who don’t have any family members present or maybe family members need additional support during the last moments of the loved ones’ lives.  This is where volunteers are in a unique position to enhance the support given by medical workers and Hospice.  Volunteers may provide vigil, comfort and support to dying patients and their families. 

Other programs include the Life Review program in which volunteers help patients with journaling and scrapbooking, the Flowers for Friends program where volunteers arrange flowers and deliver them to patients and the Treasured Memories program where talented volunteers make quilts and teddy bears out of loved ones clothing.

Hospice volunteers are part of the team that makes this special way of caring possible.  Simply put, volunteers take care of whatever needs to be done whether it is office work, community involvement or direct patient care.  Volunteers might hold a hand and listen, take patients to their favorite place, read to them or provide Music Therapy by playing musical instruments and singing along with them.  They write letters, run errands, rake leaves, walk dogs or pick up groceries.  They step in when the primary caregiver needs a break from caring for their loved one.  They provide exceptional services in tender and loving ways.  In every aspect, they fulfill the role of compassionate friends.  Volunteers are there for the family members before and after their loved ones pass away, through the Bereavement Program, which includes visits, support groups and the Grief Camp for Children and Teens.

Hospice volunteers must complete a Hospice training program.  This special training gives the volunteers the understanding and skills to offer support to the patients and families.  Each month, a meeting is held for the Hospice volunteers to review upcoming Hospice events, discuss Hospice patients and family needs and to receive ongoing education.  Hospice is the only program that is mandated through Medicare to use volunteers. 

Dana Wilson, Hospice volunteer coordinator, cannot say enough about the Hospice volunteers. 

“It is a privilege working with the Hospice volunteers.  They have touched my life in ways that I never thought possible and they do the same for their patients and families,” she said.  “Their wisdom, talents and life experiences have brought much to our program.  Their compassion, caring ways and the love that they give to their patients and families have made us a quality Hospice team.” 

Like every non-profit organization, fundraising is an important activity for Hospice.  Fundraisers are held by Hospice to provide services to the patients that are not covered by insurance.  Hospice offers fun activities, such as the annual Chili Bowl and the 300 Club Dinner Party.  By holding these events that are fun for the entire family, Hospice is giving back something to the entire community.  Volunteers are essential for the fundraising events.

If you have warmth, compassion, a non-judgmental attitude, and the ability to listen and communicate, this may be the perfect volunteer position for you. Please call the

RSVP office at (814) 765-2226 or 1-800-225-8571 if you would like to become an RSVP volunteer for Hospice.  Individuals must be 55 years of age or older to become an RSVP volunteer.

SEPTEMBER VOLUNTEERS CORNER:

VISITOR/ACTIVITY ASSISTANT:  Nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living facilities throughout the county are accepting volunteers to take up a special place in the lives of the residents.  Many volunteer opportunities are available.  Volunteers may visit one-on-one with residents, participate in activities, provide entertainment, read to residents, share a special talent or interest or lead a reminisce program – just to name a few.  If you enjoy conversation, have good listening skills, are compassionate, patient, cheerful and dependable, this is the volunteer opportunity for you.

SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS:  School has started.  Volunteers are needed throughout Clearfield County to assist with programs involving literacy and children.  Volunteers will assist students with reading activities or math.  Opportunities are available in the DuBois, Harmony, Philipsburg and West Branch areas.  This is a great opportunity to have a positive influence on the future and to use your life experience and skills. 

SPECIAL PROJECTS:  RSVP also helps our community by planning special projects for National Days of Significance.  Coming soon is our annual sock drive for Make a Difference Day and our annual food drive for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  If you belong to a club or organization and would like to make a difference in our community, join us in our efforts.

DISASTER SERVICES VOLUNTEER:  Volunteers are needed for local and national disaster services.  You choose when and where you are willing to volunteer and the American Red Cross will provide the training.  Volunteers may choose to take telephone calls, deliver refreshments to firefighters, assist with shelters in local disasters, or deploy nationally on disaster relief operations.  All training is provided.  There is a job for everyone in disaster services.

If you are interested in any of the above volunteer opportunities or would like to learn more about RSVP, please call the RSVP office at (814) 765-2226 or 1-800-225-8571.  RSVP volunteers must be 55 years of age or older.

RSVP is sponsored and partially funded by the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc.  Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Clearfield and DuBois United Way agencies, memorials and contributions.

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