Marquette County program helps seniors stay active, helpful

RSVP has been around for nearly three decades

A pin from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP, with a thank-you note attached, is pictured. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Aging Services Retired & Senior Volunteer Program has been helping senior citizens in a variety of locations throughout the county for nearly 30 years.

The RSVP partners with different programs and facilities throughout the community to work together with volunteers to help with the programs, such as Meals on Wheels and many others. The volunteers are matched with organizations by their skills, interests and time avaialable.

“We currently have about 250 volunteers, and the volunteers have to be age 55 or older,” said Manager at Marquette County Aging Services Lori Stephens-Brown. “We have people who volunteer at different nursing homes, the St. Vincent de Paul food pantries, the Salvation Army in Ishpeming and Marquette.”

The program sees volunteers sent throughout the area to different places, with about 45 different “stations” for the volunteers to be sent to.

“Part of the mission of RSVP is to give the volunteers a purpose and something to do after they have retired. Volunteering helps them stay healthier. It also improves their mental health to help others and stay active and busy. It has a huge impact on the senior population to be getting out to help others.” Stephens-Brown said.

The RSVP also helps seniors in several other ways. One of those ways is through the Triad of Marquette County Program, which sees seniors working together with law enforcement to keep seniors safe, especially from online and telemarketing scams which are so prevalent during the modern age.

The Triad program holds a meeting on the first Wednesday of each month from 1 to 2 p.m. at the RSVP office in Negaunee, located at 184 U.S. 41 East.

Another project that the RSVP is involved in is by providing seniors rides to non-emergency medical appointments. There is no charge for this service, as the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Program is funded by millage funds, donations and grants, including funding from the United Way of Marquette County.

Other projects include seniors giving back to the community to help out in different ways.

“We work with some crafters, some of whom are home bound but can still do things like knit,” Stephens-Brown said, mentioning that recently the seniors have worked to provide clothing for families with new babies who need a helping hand. “They make baby blankets, bibs and all kinds of other things that are given to families who need them. Even though they are home bound, it gives them a purpose and lets them know that they are still useful.”

More information about the RSVP program can be found online at www.co.marquettemi.us.

Randy Crouch can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 542. His email address is rcrouch@miningjournal.net.


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