Monroe Area Agency on Aging
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Monroe County has been serving the non-profit sector, social service agencies and government organizations of Monroe County since 1990 by providing 750 active volunteers, aged 55 years and over with interesting, challenging and rewarding community service at any of the 88 partnered sites where we have a current Memorandum of Understanding. RSVP engages seniors and retirees who want to remain a vital part of the community and maintain a healthy and productive brain activity. It also a residual benefit of excellent and no-cost experienced labor to RSVP partnered sites. Because of its central 2-hour proximity from both NYC and Philadelphia, rural Monroe has experienced exponential growth, drawing city families and seniors seeking lower living costs and an easier lifestyle. A 23% population swell since 2000 to 170,000, has stressed the resources of every social agency, county and state organizations. Monroe County has been ranked #5 among the highest number of minority populations in Pennsylvania. According to the 2012 County Assessment, Monroe is plagued by growing poverty, underachieving schools, hunger, homelessness, transportation issues and environmental damage as a direct result of these changes. RSVP will place a majority (47%) of volunteers in the Healthy Futures focus area of the Strategic Plan, bringing relief to disadvantaged citizens and agencies that focus on seniors and the disabled to live independently in their residences. RSVP will provide minor home repairs, grocery shop and home food and meal deliveries, medical transportation, bringing constant companionship, and assist caregivers of those in hospice with respite care. Providing frail populations with Access to Healthcare, the ability to Age in Place and educate and provide the means to monitor Obesity and Food issues, will also provide RSVP with greater and more challenging volunteer opportunities and ways to help our citizens, while at the same time giving RSVP Volunteers a more intense volunteer experience, brain stimulation a reason to get going in the morning, and therefore, a better quality of life. As the eyes and ears in the field, volunteers not only provide needed services, but also report issues that require professional attention to caseworkers. (This year 4 clients with severe health changes and sanitation issues received extended services by the Aging Offices as a result of keen RSVP volunteers.) The outcomes derived through these services will allow at least 200 hundred frail seniors and other disadvantaged populations in the county to live independently in their own homes, feel greater social ties to the community, live healthier, physically fit lives and have confidence that they will not go hungry or neglected. These outcomes as detailed in the attached work plans will be reported on in a 12-month time period with the final targeted performance measured at the end of the 36 month period. Additionally, RSVP volunteers forge new trails, improve existing ones, monitor and clean streams, offer one-on-one tutoring in the schools, assist under-served veterans with benefits and after-service transitioning, educate the financially disadvantaged, help raise funds and train volunteers for area non-profits. As more professionals from the city choose to retire to this area, RSVP will pursue their talents as volunteers. The RSVP Advisory Council will produce a Retirement package to present to the larger area businesses to include in their own retirement briefings. Additionally, RSVP will have a presence at Community Days, Township Fairs, Senior Health Expos and other events where seniors congregate to recruit new volunteers. RSVP will distribute a monthly newsletter of volunteer opportunities to an email distribution list of 800+. RSVP will continue to maintain a new website created by the County at www.co.monroe.pa.us/rsvp
RSVP currently operates with two full time employees; a program Director and an Administrative Assistant, both reporting to the Area Agency on Aging (AAA); the local sponsor of the program. We are located in an independent location, a mile from the AAA, with a volunteer-run satellite volunteer office in the northwest part of the county. The approval of this $78,296 grant, along with the $42,228 from the Area Agency on Aging and $7005 from the County Commissioners, our local County sponsors, means RSVP can continue to assist citizens in need, in particular seniors, children, veterans and those who are physically, mentally or financially disadvantaged, through RSVP stations and RSVP projects.