City of Jacksonville
The City of Jacksonville is the sponsor of RSVP Duval. The City of Jacksonville/Special Services Department/Senior Services Division has sponsored RSVP of Duval County since 1985. The City's mission is serving you, meeting today's challenges, focusing on the future; it's vision is to make Jacksonville's local government the most responsive and effective city government in America and Jacksonville the best place in the nation to live, work and raise a family. RSVP volunteers know they are a vital part of improving the quality of life in our city. RSVP Duval develops a variety of volunteer opportunities for community service for people aged 55 and better who are willing to share their experiences, abilities and skills for themselves, the community and others. Our dual purpose is to engage senior citizens in volunteer services which meet critical community needs and to provide a high quality volunteer experience that will enrich their lives. The service categories we address are: Disaster Service (American Red Cross), Education (The Duval County School Board and 57 Elementary Schools), Environmental Stewardship (St. Johns Riverkeeper, Catty Shack Wildlife Sanctuary), Economic Opportunity (United Way Tax Wise), Healthy Futures (10 retirement communities, 15 Senior Centers, American Cancer Society, Brooks Rehabilitation, Ronald McDonald House, Hospice, St. Vincent dePaul, Salvation Army, Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, etc.), Veterans and Military Families (Clara White Mission, Hospice, City of Jacksonville Military and Veteran Affairs, Finegan Elementary). An estimated 650 RSVP volunteers are serving, mainly serving children, frail seniors and veterans/military families at 132 different volunteer work stations. The primary focus area of this project is Education. At the end of the three-year grant we will have: a positive impact on healthy futures-seniors will live healthier, happier and longer lives; an increase in reading scores; provided a positive impact in the lives of military and veteran families in our community. We are requesting a CNCS federal investment of $ 69,049.00, which will be matched and exceeded with a $133,000.00 contribution from the City of Jacksonville.
The researched-based methods our project uses to address community needs are Senior Center Logs, evaluations, surveys, volunteer time sheets and community needs surveys.
Our anticipated outcomes are: 1) Improve children's literacy and oral language skills, build meaningful relationships by providing the individual attention many kids need to thrive. Because reading is the single most important skill for learning and the building block for a lifetime of academic success, RSVP Duval volunteers help students become strong readers. Reading aloud to children can help them develop into strong readers. Being a strong reader also improves students' on-time grade promotion and increases high school graduation rates. Volunteers will upgrade their own existing skills and learn new skills, exhibit a high level of commitment to the community, reduce social isolation and improve their health and quality of life. The contributions made will benefit the broad local community, reflect the diversity of the population, advance community building efforts and embody key principles to enhance the quality of life. 2) Many seniors will fall into despair as they age, loose mobility and go off to a curative path in the final stages of life. Through the efforts of RSVP volunteers we will work to give them individual new hopes that take limitless forms because of individual aspirations and goals that are as unique as we are. 3) Increase veteran and military family volunteers by 50% and increase our participation in programs that serve veteran and military families by 50%.
Education is RSVP's focus because the state of education in Jacksonville requires improvement. The high school graduation rate had a slight increase for the fifth year in a row, but is still below state average. For the fourth year in a row ECHOS, a measure of kindergarten readiness, has shown some improvement, and there is still a need for more support to bring them up. The number of higher education degrees increased for the tenth year in a row. The percentage of 10th graders with adequate reading comprehension remains disturbingly low.