New center to recruit and place volunteers

Thursday, June 20, 2002

The Volunteer Intergenerational Center will open July 1.

The Area Wide United Way and Retired Senior Volunteer Program have worked to develop the center, which will recruit and refer volunteers to groups throughout the area.

"This will include volunteers in all age groups," said Tina McDowell, executive director of the new center. "We're hoping for a volunteer group of up to 250 new volunteers during the first six months of the program."

The Area Wide United Way has approved a grant for $10,000 start-up funding and $15,000 to assist with the first year's operating expenses. The RSVP is in the process of applying for a 501(c)(3) status.

The RSVP operates under the umbrella of the SEMO Area Agency on Aging.

The RSVP has recruited and placed volunteers 55 and older with agencies for the past 29 years.

This new center will help these agencies expand services, said McDowell, and will give the agencies a centralized volunteer pool.

"We owe a special thanks to the United Way for funding and support of this new project," said McDowell. "It can be a key resource for volunteer involvement in the community."

Two years ago, a Leadership Cape Class of the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce studied the feasibility of developing a volunteer center in the area.

The class came decided it would be feasible for an existing agency to expand its services to coordinate volunteers of all ages.

The RSVP stepped forward to assume this role.

Board named

A 12-member board has been named to further develop the volunteer center plan.

Board members are Jackie Griffith of Cape Girardeau, the Rev. Clayton Smith of Centenary United Methodist Church, Mike Kohlfeld of Kohlfeld Distributing, Ilena Aslin of Cape Girardeau, David Summers of Commerce Bank, Jerry Trower of Alliance Bank, Wes Wade of Horizon Screen Printing, Edythe Davis of Sedgewickville, Mo., Marsha Haskell of Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., Dorothy Dees of Scott City, Mo., Gary McDowell of JCPenney and Gretchen Weber of Southeast Missouri State University.

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