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).

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).

Will Lockwood Named RSVP February Volunteer of the Month

RSVP of the Capital Region has named Will Lockwood as its Lebanon County Volunteer of the Month for February.

After retiring as a mechanic with the US Air Force in Colorado, Will Lockwood moved to Lebanon County and quickly sought out volunteering opportunities through RSVP.

In the fall of 2013, Will began delivering with the Meals on Wheels program Will Lockwoodadministered by the Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging. He delivers meals faithfully every Wednesday in all kinds of weather.  The picture of him putting meals in his truck shows the snow on the ground but NOT the frigid temperature!  He has filled in on numerous occasions when people are sick or on vacation. Recently, Will stepped up when one of the other Meals on Wheels volunteers was out for surgery and delivered both Wednesdays and Thursdays for about 14 weeks while the other driver recuperated.  According to Michelle Long, Volunteer Coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging, “Will is very kind to the Meals on Wheels clients and all of them comment about how caring he is. They look forward to having their meal delivered by Will!  I am so happy to have him as a volunteer!”

Will Lockwood’s life of service, both professionally and as volunteer, exemplifies the finest qualities of citizenship and neighborliness. RSVP salutes Will Lockwood as its Volunteer of the Month for February.

Larry Coghlan: RSVP York County Volunteer of the Month

Joe Coghlan, York County Volunteer of the month, and Jobie Bolden, Hanover Street Elementary Teacher

Joe Coghlan, York County Volunteer of the month, and Jobie Bolden, Hanover Street Elementary Teacher

Larry Coghlan is a volunteer tutor for RSVP of the Capital Region at Hanover Street Elementary School in the Hanover School District. Larry tutors students in math and helps them with their homework. His students call him ‘Mr. C’ and they love the fancy hat he wears to school. Larry has been a volunteer tutor at the school for the past two years.

He was in the Air Force for eight years, then worked for the federal government for twenty-nine years, retiring in 1999.Larry then worked as a contractor to the government for thirteen years. He enjoys gardening, woodworking and traveling in retirement. He and his wife live in Hanover.

Jobie Bolden, teacher at the school, stated, “Mr. C brings a plethora of experiences to our room, is the grandfather a lot of these students have been missing, and is that extra hand we love having in our classroom”.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, email YorkAdamsFranklin@rsvpCapReg.org or call Scott Hunsinger at 443-619-3842

Senior Corps of PA Legacy Award Goes to Hershey Volunteer

Angelina Marnickas-Legacy Award 2015

Angelina Marnickas, of Hummelstown, RSVP Volunteer at Hershey Library and Milton Hershey Medical Center, received the Senior Corps of PA Legacy Award at the 2015 Zest for Life RSVP Volunteer Recognition at the Radisson Penn Harris in Camp Hill, on May 6.  Alicia Richards, WHTM, ABC-27, emceed the 43rd annual event to recognize RSVP volunteers from Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York Counties.  Angelina volunteered with the RSVP of Schuylkill County prior to moving to Hummelstown and joining RSVP of the Capital Region in 2004.  Angelina epitomizes a life of dedicated, long term, community service.

 

June York County Volunteer of the Month–Howard Powell

The RSVP volunteer of the month for June is Howard Powell. Howard has been a volunteer tutor at Hanover Street Elementary School for the past two years. He tutors first, second, third, and fourth graders with reading, English, spelling, and computer skills.

Howard PowellHe is known as Mr. Howard to the students he tutors. He tutors three days a week at the school.

Howard lives with his wife in Dover, Pennsylvania and has thirty five years of IT experience. He worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital  and at the Harford County Public Library as the Computer Support Manager for fifteen years.

His hobbies include reading, football, stock car racing and going to the movies.