RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) loves to recognize our volunteers – especially those who persisted during such a challenging time for all of us. In addition to choosing the theme of Recognition for our latest EIA (Experience in Action) senior volunteer newsletter, we reached out to our site partners for both site and volunteer spotlights highlighting RSVP volunteers’ brilliance and resilience throughout the pandemic and beyond, reprinted below!
“I am continually amazed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the Power of One volunteers, and Darci Beacom is no exception to this. She loves connecting with kids and watching them come to life in different ways as they learn and grow. Being able to contribute to this in a meaningful way [as a virtual tutor] keeps her motivated as a volunteer. We’re fortunate to have her in our volunteer program!”
~Terry Monette, Power of One Partners in Learning Program Coordinator
“Although the SeaTac Airport Volunteer Program paused from frontline customer service duties in March 2020, volunteers [returned] this spring. Our community of airport volunteers focuses on elevating the customer experience by addressing their needs. Whether providing directions, distributing hidden disabilities sunflower lanyards, or providing Pacific Northwest tourist recommendations, our volunteers are invaluable members of the airport team. We thank our community of volunteers for returning to welcome travelers. As SEA traffic continues to pick up, the need for additional volunteers also increases. We hope to bring on new volunteers this summer.”
~Chelsea Rodriguez, Airport Volunteers & Customer Accessibility Manager, Seattle Tacoma International Airport
“Lillian Hiyashi has volunteered with Kokoro Kai’s adult day program for 10 years. She always says, ‘I will want to assist the program in any manner I can. I will be there!’ In this difficult time, she makes a regular call to a participant, and she brings sweets she bakes to cheer us up. All of our volunteers are very dedicated to the program, and it’s impossible without our volunteers. Our participants, the families, and volunteers are so looking forward to having the program and seeing each other again.”
~Tomoko Faasuamalie, Kokoro Kai Adult Day Center
“Sylvia Shiroyama is in her 5th year of tutoring. She is part of the Sanislo family and is a fantastic tutor for any student who is paired with her for the school year. Sylvia really listens to her students and makes adjustments where necessary so her students feel challenged but not overwhelmed. She also makes learning and reading fun and engaging by finding just the right book. This year, Reading Partners moved the curriculum to a virtual platform, and Sylvia was up to the challenge. She is dedicated to the program and committed to her students’ success. I appreciate Sylvia’s patience, flexibility, commitment, and dedication to Reading Partners.”
~Cecilia Herrera, Sanislo Reading Partners Site Coordinator
“The Greenwood Senior Center, like many other community spaces, closed our physical doors to the public in March 2020. We quickly shifted to offer online programming and other safe activities, including our educational classes, social groups, and memory loss support groups. Our daily lunch program shifted to a delivery service. We made phone calls to the most vulnerable of our members, and ensured our seniors were getting the medicines and food they needed, even with stay-at-home orders.
“We also found new ways to connect with our members and neighbors, partnering with volunteers to build and install a puzzle exchange cabinet, join our Pen Pal Project pairing seniors with youth across the country, perform (and host) our Front Yard mini-concerts, and participate in our Small Gestures program providing inexpensive and thoughtful tokens of appreciation.
“We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated and thoughtful crew of volunteers. Volunteers made phone calls to check on each other and kept our mostly-empty buildings from looking abandoned – and even pretty. They grew almost 200 pounds of produce, which was then used by other volunteers to make delicious and nutritious meals for people in need. They made masks and wrote cards, mowed lawns, and delivered meals.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our community back into our center and are grateful for the continued support. Our volunteers have been amazing, and their creativity and generosity seem boundless. We are grateful for and inspired by our volunteers.”
~LeAnne Chow, Volunteer Program Manager, Phinney Neighborhood Association
“One casualty of the pandemic has been the cheerful gatherings we are so used to having to celebrate special occasions with near and dear ones. To provide a small bit of personal touch to such occasions, the Northshore Senior Center (NSC) Kindness Crew has been busy at work creating handwritten cards and sending them to members and volunteers of the NSC.
“The modern way of greeting on special occasions is sending e-cards, which at times might feel a bit impersonal and isolate folks who aren’t as comfortable with technology. Paper and ink convey emotions and a personal touch that typed text can’t as there is true effort and time required to make them.
“Lead volunteer Cynthia Bemis has worked tirelessly to collect cards from the local community members, schools, and local crafters, and worked with other volunteer members to make personalized cards and mail them out to members. The Kindness Crew has sent 400 cards a month – 12 cards a day!
“The charter of the Northshore Kindness Crew is to spread cheer within the community, and all of the members have exemplified this. We wish them the best in continuing to bring cheer to the community.”
~Foram Shah, NSC Volunteer Coordinator
If you’re 55+ and interested in learning more about volunteering through Solid Ground’s RSVP of King County, please contact RSVP Coordinator Megan Wildhood at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.694.6786.