RSVP holds annual volunteer luncheon|
Friday, July 20, 2012
By Wendy Lynn Brion Staff Writer
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program held its annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon yesterday with nearly 250 volunteers in attendance. Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc. Executive Director John Kordish welcomed everyone and remarked that the measure of the quality of a nation can be determined by how its citizens devote themselves to others. He said, "We're grateful for the work you do and the powerful impact on the nation, county and your communities."
Donna English, project director for RSVP, introduced the staff and the new director of community service, Ellie Fenton. Fenton briefly spoke and gave statistics about volunteers from 2010. She said at that time there were 63 million Americans who gave eight billion hours of service, equal to $173 billion, based on the average hourly earnings of non-management, non-farmer workers.
Current numbers for Clearfield County include 759 volunteers contributing 57,020 hours, equal to $1,189,458 of work.
The first recognition plaque was given to the Station of the Year, the Clearfield County Senior Environmental Corps, which has been a station since 2000. Many of the original volunteers still volunteer with the group, which is committed to improving the environment of Clearfield County. They started with monitoring streams to identify those which needed treatment. Volunteers put in hours of training to complete chemical testing of the streams.
The group has also been involved in roadside clean up and with the West Branch of the Susquehanna Restoration Coalition to clean up the river. CCSEC also received a grant to write and publish a booklet, including stories from county residents, on the waters of Clearfield County.
CCSEC assists the Clearfield County Conservation District with various events, including the Upper West Branch Triathlon, Dam Scramble and the Dam Darkness Trail Run, with registration and providing directions.
Six years ago, RSVP and CCCD applied for a Program of National Significance grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to educate people on protecting groundwater, a grant they were awarded. As a result, the volunteers received training and give presentations to various groups and organizations, utilizing a groundwater model. Currently, CCSEC is working with a professor from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania on a water quality project where volunteers gather water samples for baseline data in the event there is a problem with Marcellus shale drilling.
During the last year, 27 volunteers donated 2,186 hours to improve the environment in the county.
The honorable mentions for this award were Mid-State Literacy Council and Marian House.
Mid-State Literacy Council provides adult education instruction including basic literacy, English as a second language, and family literacy services utilizing volunteer tutors to help adults increase their skills and abilities. Recently, due to budget cuts, the office for Mid-State Literacy had to close, however, the director continues to work from her home and RSVP volunteers continue to work with adult learners, donating approximately 380 hours.
Marian House is an emergency shelter for women and children established in 1982. Those assisted include the homeless, evicted, pregnant, displaced or victims of crimes, including domestic violence or sexual assault. Volunteers and staff provide a quiet and nurturing environment and empower each woman to make positive decisions for the future. Volunteers may help with office work, mentoring, childcare, housekeeping and workshops.
The other award for the afternoon was Volunteer of the Year. This year's recipient is Donna Shaw, who has been with RSVP since 1996. Over the years, she has volunteered with the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, St. Francis Church and School as well as RSVP. In the last year alone, she has donated 700 hours. She has also donated her time for the Clearfield Hospital Auxiliary Cottage Gift Shop, where she buys and markets top quality, unique merchandise at reasonable prices. As a result, Cottage proceeds benefit the hospital in the purchasing of medical equipment. She has also served on the RSVP Advisory Council for many years.
Upon receiving her award, Shaw thanked everyone and said, "If God gives you strength, power and wisdom to do it, then it's our obligation to do it."
Honorable mentions included Cheryl Fluke and Lee Lanager.
Fluke has been through many changes and ups and downs in her life, but always has a smile. She considers her volunteering as her job, a reason to get up in the morning. Her purpose is to give to others and is often found at the Clearifeld Ministerium Food Bank. Fluke thanked everyone, especially Ann Reid, whom she said introduced her to RSVP.
Lanager has been with RSVP since 2006 and has volunteered with the American Cancer Society, Clearfield Arts Studio Theater, CCAAA, Clearfield County Historical Society Museum, Clearfield County League on Social Services, Clearfield Revitalization Corp., Mountain Laurel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, the Salvation Army, the Sneaker Closet and also RSVP. In an emergency, RSVP can always call Lanager.
Special recognition was also given to volunteers between the ages of 80-89 with a red corsage, and those 90-99 years old with a yellow corsage. There were nine volunteers with yellow corsages.