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
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).
Our RSVP volunteers produce a variety of lap robes and afghans that are donated to veterans at VA Centers and shelters and other senior residences. Yarn may be dropped off at the RSVP offices, located at 50 Utley Drive in Camp Hill, between 9:00am and 4:30pm weekdays. Please call before delivering. A flat bed rolling cart is available for transferring from your vehicle. We can arrange to pick up large quantities. In addition to yarn (no rug yarn please), we also need knitting needles, crochet hooks and other knitting supplies.
RSVP also partners with schools, food banks and shelters by collecting and distributing hats, mittens, gloves, socks, scarves and personal care items. If you or your organization has other handmade needle-arts items that you would like to donate for our volunteer recognition and fund raising events, 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, call RSVP at 800-870-2616 or email rsvp@rsvpCapReg.org.