If you attended Solid Ground’s recent Building Community Luncheon, you were in the presence of RSVP Ambassadors – committed volunteers with our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
Wearing their signature navy blue polo shirts and warm smiles, RSVP Ambassadors are more than seasoned volunteers for organizations they care about – they also enthusiastically spread the word about the benefits of volunteering later in life. On the heels of National Volunteer Month (April) and as we head into Older Americans Month (May), it seems like a perfect time to honor the contributions of our committed RSVP Ambassadors.
In 2018, Solid Ground’s RSVP program coordinated 906 volunteers, contributing 128,029 hours to meet critical needs in organizations across King County. From tutoring youth, to assisting with cooking and nutrition classes, to providing in-home help and companionship for homebound individuals, RSVP volunteers improve quality of life for all generations. And without the stalwart support of RSVP Ambassadors, these impressive numbers wouldn’t be possible.
While they come from a wide variety of backgrounds and life circumstances, a few things RSVP Ambassadors have in common are a passion for volunteering, a belief that they get just as much as they give, and a willingness to convince more people like them that volunteering is rewarding. Our current Ambassadors team includes: ⇒Ethan Crawford ⇒Cindy Etter ⇒Sue Haley ⇒Lillian Hayashi ⇒Helen Hesketh ⇒Joe Hesketh ⇒Sandy Howard ⇒Paul Jeganathan ⇒Peter Langmaid ⇒Pat Loftin ⇒Joel Napp ⇒Sarah Parkhurst ⇒Bill Pharr ⇒Rose Ratteray ⇒Harry Schreiber ⇒Charla Sullivan ⇒Marty Thompson ⇒Linda Urbaniak ⇒Bill Van Horn ⇒Jennie Yamasaki
The following are quotes from a few of our long-term RSVP Ambassadors (listed in order of years of service). Thanks to all for your gifts of time, energy, and passion!
Helen & Joe Hesketh, 19+ years: Mission of love to change the world
“People are our hobby. Volunteering our time, talent, and treasure keeps us actively involved in our community and church to fulfill our mission of love to change the world and leave it a better place.” (Read more about them in Helen & Joe, an uncommon couple.)
Lillian Hayashi, 12+ years: You make a life by what you give
“One of my life’s passions is to be the best neighbor possible to everyone, to give rather than receive – and especially to be involved with the RSVP program and its mission to benefit/respond to the needs of our community in King County. Introducing RSVP and Solid Ground to potential volunteers is also such a rewarding and impactful experience, a blessing for both the giver and receiver of RSVP’s caring volunteer services. Volunteering is such a wonderful opportunity to network with fellow Ambassadors and make a positive impact.
“My personal enriching benefits are immeasurable. Knowing I have these fantastic opportunities to make such a difference in lives touched through RSVP is truly so heartwarming and gratifying, keeping me wanting to do even more, and fulfilling my deep passion and love for volunteering – caring, giving, and serving others, especially those in need.
“One of my most favorite quotes and a motivator in my life’s journey is by Sir Winston Churchill: ‘You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.’ I truly cherish and believe in this quote, and want to replicate it in my relationships with everyone and all.”
Pat Loftin, 12+ years: I smile, learn, laugh, admire, and cry
“Volunteering with RSVP and Solid Ground allows me to meet all types of people including other volunteers, recipients of the information I am presenting, and curious onlookers. Through these interactions I smile, learn, laugh, admire, and cry at the difficulties and accomplishments of people I would otherwise not have met. Such experiences greatly enrich my life as a retired person.”
Charla Sullivan, 10+ years: There is a lot of love in this work
“Solid Ground reminds me and reaffirms the fact that people DO care and help those in need to begin anew. I think that not only are you getting adults to a place where they can begin to take care of themselves, more importantly, it gives children security to realize that there is opportunity to get ahead in life. There is a lot of love in this work.”
Paul Jeganathan, 8+ years: I am restless to serve
“I am a polio survivor. Others say my desire to serve comes from my early childhood experiences, which were relocating during WW II, lacking in resources, and experiencing isolation. Changes happened and I am where I am today, happily retired! Being an RSVP volunteer enables me to be part of Solid Ground’s efforts to bring social justice and economic well-being to many in the Seattle neighborhood. I am restless to serve!”
Cindy Etter, 4+ years: A life well lived: learning, earning, and returning
“Echoing the words of a retiree from many years ago: A life well lived is divided into three parts: the first third is ‘learning,’ the middle part is ‘earning,’ and the last part is ‘returning.’ One need not be wealthy to follow this guidance.
“In my case, volunteering with RSVP since my retirement has greatly enhanced my understanding of the fighting spirit and bravery of those who experience poverty and injustice, as well as the resources that are available and the areas of greatest need for volunteers.
“I can only ‘return’ in my retirement years if I understand the needs, the resources available, and the tools for connecting the two. RSVP makes this human connection accessible to retirees. I always look forward to the quarterly RSVP meetings where representatives from various nonprofits in the Puget Sound region share their organizations’ visions and services to the community.”
Questions about RSVP or becoming an RSVP Ambassador? Please contact Jen Gahagan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.694.6785.