Scott County residents get a new avenue of community service

Saturday, January 13, 2007

People in Scott County age 55 and younger will now have new volunteer opportunities.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP, which serves Cape Girardeau and Scott counties, has expanded its Volunteer Intergenerational Center, or VIC, to Scott County, a program previously available only in Cape Girardeau County.

RSVP got its start in 1973 in Chaffee as a program that provided volunteer opportunities for people age 55 and older. RSVP expanded into Cape Girardeau County in 1992, and created VIC in Cape Girardeau County in 2002.

"It's time to expand into Scott County," said RSVP director Tina Dohogne. "We've heard from students at Chaffee High School and other young people who want to volunteer."

RSVP works with 119 agencies in the area, each with different volunteer assignments. The program finds volunteer opportunities that match the interests of volunteers taking part in RSVP and VIC.

Right now RSVP has 542 55-and-older volunteers in both counties, while VIC has 399 volunteers in Cape Girardeau County. Dohogne hopes to reach the same numbers in the VIC program as the RSVP program with the expansion of service to Scott County.

Chaffee High School principal Neil Glass said he's glad to see another avenue made available for his students to perform community service.

"It's always good for our youth to get involved with the community," Glass said. "One of the things I like to see, especially is our youth, is giving back to the senior citizens who have paid these taxes all these years. ... They're the ones who have built the school system we enjoy today."

By matching younger volunteers with older volunteers or clients, RSVP and VIC can create a learning experience for both old and young, Dohogne said.

Both programs, RSVP and VIC, will also take part in the new Adopt-a-Grandparent initiative, which will match volunteers with seniors who have no family and friends to provide companionship.

For more information on RSVP, VIC or Adopt-a-Grandparent, call RSVP's Chaffee office at (573) 887-3664 or Cape Girardeau office at 335-7555.

335-6611, extension 182

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