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).

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RSVP York County PA Volunteer of the Month

Patti Hulmann

The RSVP of the Capital Region Volunteer of the Month for March 2016 is Patti Hullmann in York County. Patti tutors at Jackson Elementary School in the York City School District for RSVP. She makes fleece scarfs for the students at Jackson. Patti is a retired kindergarten teacher from the Dallastown Area School District, is married to Terry and she has two sons: Kyle and Ben. She enjoys walking her three dogs, sewing, baking, gardening, and playing the piano.

Patti’s other activities include: walking dogs at Animal Rescue, Inc, singing in her church choir, sewing sundresses for the “Little Dresses for Africa” mission. She is active in the Jacobus Lions Club and is a member of the Dallastown Area Communities That Care for the Dallastown Area School District.

Her reason for volunteering is that she feels very blessed with her life and wants to share those blessings with others. RSVP of the Capital Region is very blessed to have her as an active volunteer in York County.

For more information about volunteering with RSVP in York County contact Scott Hunsinger at 443 619-3842 or by email at YorkAdamsFranklin@rsvpCapReg.org

 

 

RSVP Volunteer of the Month Cumberland County, PA

Cumb VoM Mar 2016

Elaine Downing is RSVP’s March Volunteer of the Month. Elaine volunteers with the America Reads program in Crestview Elementary School. She started in the fall and is devoted to the kids she sees each week.

“There are two fourth grade boys I see nearly every week,” Elaine tells; “they look forward to seeing me, too. It’s a lot of fun.”

She also tells a story of having a moment of doubt as to whether she was making any difference for the kids and quickly finding the answer. “I came in the week after Christmas and all of the kids had made me Christmas cards. They all had things like “You’re the best, Mrs. Downing.” And “you’re my favorite, it was fantastic.”

Elaine looked to volunteering after retiring from social work. She worked in Cumberland County for the Office of Aging for many years. Before that she had been a stay at home mom and a substitute teacher. She’s lived in Central Pennsylvania for 35 years, but is originally from New Jersey.

The desire to touch children’s lives is strong with Elaine’s family; her two sons and daughter-in-law are also teachers. When not volunteering, Elaine enjoys time with her young grandson and planning for her upcoming trip to Japan, where one son teaches English.

“It will be my first time; I’m really looking forward to it. We’ll get to visit an exchange student I had many years ago and have kept in touch with.”

For more information about volunteering with RSVP in Cumberland County contact Michelle Jones at 717-541-9521 or by email at PerryCumb@rsvpCapReg.org

RSVP York County Volunteer of the Month (February 2016)

D. Moninne SeitzRSVP of the Capital Region’s volunteer of the month for February is D. Monine Seitz. Monine volunteers at Healthy World Café in the City of York. She prepares and serves food for customers who visit the café for lunch. She was born and raised in York County. Monine is married, has two daughters and five grandchildren. She retired from York Bank & Trust Operations Department. Monine likes to bowl and also volunteers at the Strand Capital Performing Arts Center, and The Pullo Center.

For more information about volunteering with RSVP of the Capital Region, contact Scott Hunsinger, York County Development Coordinator at 443 619-3842 or by e-mail at YorkAdamsFranklin@rsvpcapreg.org

Cumberland County RSVP Volunteers of the Month (February 2016)

Each week, four fresh faces from UCP join the RSVP office staff to sort donations, prepare a bulk mailing, label donated books or create cards for area veterans. Several volunteers are shown above, with staff. Their presence always cheers the office, and of course their help is invaluable. That’s why the UCP volunteers are some of our favorites and our pick for Volunteer of the Month.

Jan2016CumbVoMx

Consumers of the UCP program in Colonial Park are big on volunteering. In fact RSVP is just one of their regular projects. Others include the packing of boxes with the food bank, sorting at the recycling center, office help at WITF, working with Meals on Wheels in Colonial Park, and various duties at Swatara Church of God. They also regularly help dust cars at the Antique Auto Club of America Museum and help with mailings at a local domestic violence charity.

Volunteer efforts are one part of the program for adults with disabilities, where clients choose their activities. Options ranging from recreational outings, educational trips or volunteering in the community. The group is out in the community at least once a week, and is always looking for more good works to do.

For further information about RSVP volunteer opportunities in the Capital Region, please contact Michelle Jones, Cumberland County Development Coordinator. Her phone is 717-541-9521, and her e-mail is PerryCumb@rsvpCapReg.org

 

Embracing Aging Grant Awarded

EmbracingAgingYorkCheckPhotoJan2016small

SpiriTrust Lutheran®Jewish Family Services of  York and RSVP of the Capital Region were recently awarded an Embracing Aging grant through the York County Community Foundation’s (YCCF), Hahn Home Fund.  The grant, titled Engagement Encore or E2, will fund a partnership between the agencies which is intended to streamline the onboarding and training of volunteers.

“The Embracing Aging grant will allow us to create one common point of entry for volunteers,” explained Glenn Miller, vice president of External Relations at SpiriTrust Lutheran. “We are pleased that YCCF sees the value in maximizing impact through strategic collaborations. The overall goal is improved service delivery and increased efficiency.”

“This grant will advance volunteer recruitment, offer high quality education to senior volunteers and reduce isolation among older adults,” said Cathy Bollinger, managing director of Embracing Aging. “We are delighted the entities came together and are working collaboratively to engage senior volunteers.”

Pictured above, left-to-right:  Layla Boyce (YCF grants and scholarship program administrator), Cathy Bollinger (YCCF managing director of Embracing Aging, Joan Krechmer (Jewish Family Services of York executive director and geriatric care manager), Angela Dohrman (SpiriTrust Lutheran vice president of senior living), Scott Brubaker (RSVP of the Capital Region program director), Glenn Miller (SpiriTrust Lutheran vice president of External Relations), Scott Hunsinger (RSVP development coordinator), and Carol Miller (Jewish Family Services program and development coordinator).