High Country RSVP celebrates Senior Corps Week | PostIndependent.com

High Country RSVP celebrates Senior Corps Week

Heidi Rice
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Heidi Rice Post IndependentHilda Sykes and dozens of other Garfield County seniors volunteer their time for all sorts of community services through High Country RSVP, or Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Sykes serves lunch at the Rifle Senior Center, one of several volunteer tasks she does each week through RSVP.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – For the past 15 years, Hilda Sykes of Rifle has been serving lunch at the Rifle Senior Center three days a week. And at age 79, that’s not the only volunteer service she puts in.

Sykes has worked with the Senior Wellness Program for the past 10 years and serves on numerous advisory boards for seniors, including the Garfield County Council on Aging.

“I got started when my mother was a volunteer at the Senior Center,” said Sykes, a native of Rifle.

To celebrate their service, Sykes and other volunteers will participate in the national Senior Corps Week, which is today through Friday.

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“During the Senior Corps week, we’re trying to get the word out about all our volunteers,” said Patty Daniells, program director for High Country RSVP.

Senior Corps is made up of nearly 500,000 Americans age 55 and older who belong to any of three programs: RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), the Foster Grandparent Program or the Senior Companion Program.

High Country RSVP is the RSVP program for the region from Aspen to Parachute.

RSVP volunteers mentor and tutor children and respond to natural disasters, among other activities. Foster grandparents also serve one-on-one as tutors and mentors to young people, while senior companions help frail seniors and others maintain independence in the comfort of their own home.

The three Senior Corps programs were created by the federal government in the mid-1960s and early 1970s. Since 1993, they have been administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which was established to help improve lives, strengthen communities and encourage civic participation through service and volunteering.

In Garfield County, residents have volunteered with High Country RSVP since 1973. They serve meals, dispatch The Traveler van, mentor students, read and tell stories to children, stock library shelves, care for abandoned animals, deliver Meals on Wheels and much more.

High Country RSVP has been sponsored by Colorado Mountain College since 1978. Funding for the program comes 35 percent from federal funding, 20 percent from CMC and the rest from fundraising and private donations, according to Daniells.

Marsha Hutson of Glenwood Springs, a retired school teacher, has been volunteering at LIFT-UP in Glenwood Springs one to two days a month for the past three years under the High Country RSVP program.

“I got interested in it after I retired and I had a friend who worked for LIFT-UP,” Hutson said. “I sign people up and help them get services like food, prescriptions, clothing and other things. I love giving things away to people. It’s fun and very satisfying.”

Hutson also volunteers at the Gathering Center in Carbondale.

An ice cream and pie social will be held at the Senior Center in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday to honor the Senior Corps. volunteers.

“Senior Corps Week is our way of trying to honor and get the word out about our volunteers,” Daniells said. “We now have 230 volunteers and we want to thank them for their contributions.”

For more information about High Country RSVP, call 947-8461 or visit www. highcountryrsvp.org.

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