Wisdom meets potential in senior tutoring program

alandubs-jaylenlaborielTutor Alan Dubs, fist pumps with first grader Jaylen Laboriel, 6, after going over his alphabet letters Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, at Arthur W. Ferguson School, in York City.

Alan Dubs is retired, but far from idle — he dedicates approximately 35 hours each week to Ferguson K-8 school. And one local organization is looking for at least a few more generous seniors to do the same.

Dubs works with students in the K-8 school as a tutor through the RSVP of the Capital Region, a volunteer-based organization in the area for people 55 years old and up. The tutoring program began about three years ago, according to Scott Hunsinger, the organization’s development coordinator in York, Adams and Franklin counties.

Each year since the program’s inception, Dubs has won the award for tallying the most volunteer hours.

At 65, Dubs knew he wanted to give back to the community. He decided to connect with RSVP and work with students at Ferguson K-8, where his own daughter attended school. He works with kids of all ages — he even eats lunch with them on occasion.

“It’s so rewarding. It gives you a sense of purpose,” Dubs said. “When I go into school, I tell a lot of them that I’m their temporary in-house parent or grandparent, and I’m going to treat them just like they’re my child.”

The volunteers: Volunteer tutors are able to spend time in the school of their choice so long as RSVP of the Capital Region has a relationship with that school. The seniors can choose to dedicate the number of hours that work with their schedules, as well.

Patti Hullman, a former kindergarten teacher and resident of Springfield Township, decided to volunteer in Jackson K-8 because she missed teaching after retiring.

She spends about two hours each week with a kindergarten class there, helping the children master the skills to help them succeed in the future. Hullman said volunteering in a kindergarten class is important because many of the students might not know English and didn’t always attend a pre-K program. Therefore, the children may be just learning basic skills in English before they can move on to anything else

“I think especially with the younger children, the more we can do to help them to acquire that good foundation that they need to carry them through school, the better they’re going to be,” Hullman said. “When I taught I was fortunate because I had a lot of parent volunteers, but that just isn’t the case anymore with a lot of the districts, not just the city district.”

Both Hullman and Dubs agreed that there’s a dire need in York County for more tutors and volunteers in the school districts in general. With many families either having single-parent households or homes in which both parents work, there aren’t as many people who can take the time to volunteer during the school days with the kids. And both said volunteering with the younger kids is incredibly fulfilling.

“We feel we get as much out of the program as the children that we’re working with,” Hullman said. “It makes you feel good and it’s helping us and as much as it seems to be helping them.” Dubs said the kids just love working with him and the other volunteers, and they are almost like family to him.

The program: The tutors in the program work primarily on reading and math, Hunsinger said. There are currently 16 tutors who work in York County and serve three school districts: York City, Hanover and South Eastern. In York City, tutors volunteer in Jackson, Devers, Ferguson and McKinley K-8 schools. Hunsinger said that they are working on getting a tutor for Goode K-8 in the near future as well.

Hunsinger wants to continue to expand the tutor program to even more school districts in the county, but to do so RSVP of the Capital Region needs more volunteers. Volunteers aren’t paid but are reimbursed for transportation, given free supplemental liability insurance, given assistance with clearances needed to work with students in the district and get a lot of satisfaction from helping the kids, Hunsinger said.

“Students really look up to the tutors, they really like having them come in,” Hunsinger said. “It’s not just tutoring; the tutors show them love, and they get attention from the tutors on a one-on-one basis.”

Hunsinger said none of the 16 volunteers are there for the perks but because they really love the community and want to better it. Many volunteers that tutor volunteer through RSVP in other aspects  as well, such as for the food bank or in soup kitchens.

To get involved as a volunteer for the RSVP of the Capital Region, Scott Hunsinger encourages anyone to email him at YorkAdamsFranklin@rsvpCapReg.org or call him at (443) 619-3842.

This article is reproduced with permission of The York Dispatch, Alyssa Jackson (writer), and Amanda J. Cain (photographer).

RSVP participates in Rep. Patty Kim’s 4th Annual Senior Health Fair


State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, hosted her fourth annual senior health fair Friday, Sept. 9 at the Goodwin Memorial Baptist Church Family Life Center, 2430 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg.

This year’s fair focused on the health and welfare of senior citizens and included:

  • Free health screenings
  • Information on programs to benefit seniors
  • Free dental consultations

A diverse group of vendors offered information on transportation, fitness, insurance, housing disability and health care services. In addition, there were free giveaways and light refreshments.

RSVP was represented by Rick Sayles (Development Coordinator for Dauphin County).  Rick provided information on volunteer opportunities, and assisted Representative Kim with the distribution of door prizes.

For further information about Dauphin County volunteer opportunities, please contact Rick at 800-870-2616, 717-541-9521, or eMail him at DauphinRSVP@rsvpCapReg.org

The Reading Bug (Donna Watkins) throws first pitch at York Revolution Game on Aug 23

The York Revolution Baseball team held Volunteer Recognition Night for York County RSVP of the Capital Region volunteers. The special night was held on Tuesday, August 23 at PeoplesBank Park in downtown York. RSVP worked with Evan Slabicki of the Revolution to make this a special night for the volunteers. Volunteer Donna Watkins was recognized for her efforts as “The Reading Bug” by throwing out the first ball on the field before the game. She wore her famous Bug You to Read costume while throwing out the ball. The Revolution also had the RSVP logo on the JumboTron scoreboard at the game for all the fans to see. Some of State Representative Kevin Schreiber’s staff came out to honor our volunteers.

The Revolution also collected books at the gate for Donna as she distributes them to people as part of her “Reading Bug Program”.  A great night was had by all the volunteers at the game with family and friends. Scott Brubaker of RSVP was there to hand out tickets at the gate to volunteers. His daughter Abby was the photographer on the field when Donna was throwing the first pitch.  A big thanks to the York Revolution and all the RSVP volunteers who tirelessly help others.


For further information about volunteer opportunities in York County, please contact Scott Hunsinger, York County Coordinator, at 443-619-3842, 800-870-2616, or via eMail at:  YorkAdamsFranklin@rsvpCapReg.org


Yarn & knitting supplies needed for Veterans’ project


RSVP volunteers make lap robes and afghans for veterans at VA Centers, shelters and senior residences. Yarn may be dropped off at our RSVP office in Camp Hill, between 9am and 4pm weekdays. Please call before delivering. A cart is available for transfer from your vehicle. We can arrange to pick up large quantities. In addition to yarn (no rug yarn please), we also need other knitting supplies.

RSVP partners with schools, food banks and shelters by collecting and distributing hats, mittens, gloves, socks, scarves and personal care items. If you have other handmade needle-arts items that you would like to donate, we would appreciate your collaboration. Cash donations are also welcomed.

If you know of veterans in residence that are in need of any of the items mentioned above, please contact us. RSVP of the Capital Region is a 501[c]3 non-profit community benefit organization that has been assisting volunteers throughout the Susquehanna Valley for more than forty years.


To donate or inquire, please contact Juli Obaya at 800-870-2616 or email Office@rsvpCapReg.org


Save this date: Nov. 13, 2016, 2-5 PM, Holiday Auction & Fundraiser

2016auctionSaveDateBlogJoin us for the 8th Annual RSVP Holiday Auction & Fundraiser

  • Down Home Country Christmas: Good food, good company,
  • silent and live auction, fiddlers, chances to win prizes and more!

Be sure to mark your calendar now. Register early by calling or eMailing us:  800-870-2616  |  rsvp@rsvpCapReg.org  |  http://www.rsvpCapReg.org

RSVP seeks Part Time Development Coordinators in Dauphin and Cumberland/Perry Counties (PA)

  • 19 flexible hours per week
  • Some work from home
  • Occasional nights, weekends
  • $13,338 per annum

2 DCs Blog Aug 2016

  • Send resume, references and writing sample to:
  • ProgramDirector@rsvpCapReg.org
  • Application deadline: September 2, 2016