Friday, July 15, 2016

Does Age Matter?

It sure does when you are talking about the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program or (RSVP). Many of our volunteers simply do not fit in the retired or senior category at all. In fact, many volunteers we work with do not fit in society’s view of what it means to be retired or senior.  Volunteers live active lifestyles that happen to include volunteering on top of their own hobbies, families, and friends.  I have had the pleasure of learning so much from some of our RSVP volunteers and I am thankful every day that I get to have contact with such fantastic human beings!!! RSVP volunteers are everywhere from our local hospitals, thrift stores, libraries, and museums, to the senior center, NorthEast Community Fund, and even  Meals on Wheels and that is just to name a few. You must be 55 years of age or older to enroll in our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.  Which makes RSVP an exclusive club with lots of talent and experience that is being shared throughout our communities in both Macon and DeWitt County!!!

Over the years I have seen how the threshold for the title of senior has lowered from 65  all the way down to 50, while the threshold for retirement has increased to 67 years of age and older . Volunteers refer to themselves as, retired, senior, and even ornery but never refer to themselves as elderly. When did that change? I always called anyone older than me my elder and although I still respect my elders I have a much healthier view of what our “older” Americans who become RSVP volunteers really look like.

Because they look like…..more flashlights for the homeless, more cookies for first responders, decorations for appreciation events, and a warm meal served with love, informational hubs like beacons of light,  and much, much more!!  So to answer the question does age matter? You bet your RSVP volunteer it does!!!!

Charlie Gillaspie
RSVP Program Director

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