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Help your fellow seniors through RSVP

Heidi Rice
hrice@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted photo
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Are you handy around the house? Good with numbers or accounting?

Then you might want to sign up to help out with a couple of programs through the High Country Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

Both young and old volunteers are needed to help with RSVP’s Helping Hands for Seniors Program and the upcoming Tax Program for Seniors and Disabled.



“We always get some good volunteers, but we always needs more,” said Cheryl Cain, director of RSVP, which is administered under Colorado Mountain College.

The Helping Hands for Seniors Program, which started this fall, allows many seniors to stay in their homes by providing assistance for things they may not be able to do themselves.



“Volunteers do things like raking leaves, shoveling snow, trimming bushes, tending flower gardens and weather stripping,” Cain said. “We can’t do fantastically big projects, because right now the program is so new we have certain things we can do.”

The program recently put a handrail in for a man who couldn’t leave his upper level apartment because he couldn’t get down the stairs.

Another woman simply needed a light bulb put in.

Most RSVP volunteers are 55 years or older, but Cain said younger people are welcome as well. Because it is often necessary for the volunteers to enter a senior’s home, background checks are required and volunteers are sent in two at a time for their own safety.

The upcoming Tax Program for Seniors and Disabled also needs volunteers to help senior citizens with their taxes. Volunteers serve from Aspen to Parachute.

Prospective tax counselors receive a six-hour training session in January provided by an IRS employee and are later required to pass a test provided by the IRS.

Certified tax accounts providing volunteer services are not required to take the test.

“The tax program has been around for 17 years and we’re always looking for volunteers because more and more and more of tax filing is being done online,” Cain said. “The older volunteer is required to get on a computer and we lose a lot of volunteers that way because they don’t want to. We need people who love numbers.”

Those wishing to receive the service call the tax line and make and appointment and a volunteer will come and help them do their taxes by paper and mail or file online.

These are just two of the programs RSVP runs, which also include the Medicare D Counseling program, which is in its fourth year and assists seniors in deciding which prescription drug program is right for them.

“I think most people don’t realize that RSVP is so multi-faceted,” Cain said. “We’re trying to make volunteering better in the valley.”

To volunteer or find out more about the programs, contact Cain at 947-8462 or e-mail to rsvp@coloradomtn.edu.


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