By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: December 2008
Marvene Green, Pat Hale and Sharon Duffer are the newest participants in the RSVP Grandfriends program.
RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Tulsa, needs your help. Are you 55 years or better and looking for a fun, meaningful way to volunteer your time? The RSVP Grandfriends program is an intergenerational program in partnership with the Community Action Project at Head Start and Early Start sites throughout the area. The program benefits the volunteers by helping them stay active and engaged, and it benefits the children by helping in the development of their social and emotional skills.
The special relationship between grandparent and grandchild is missing from many children’s lives; the Grandfriends program can help supply that much needed bond between a child and someone who has learned the ways of the world. RSVP Grandfriends spend time in a classroom of children ages birth to five years, bringing that special gift of a grandparent into their lives. RSVP Grandfriends can choose to volunteer once a month, once a week, or more, for two to three hours each morning. They assist teachers with their classroom activities or share from their own interests. They work with the whole classroom, small groups and one-on-one. Reading stories, playing music, singing nursery rhymes, and creating beautiful works of art are some of RSVP Grandfriends’ favorite activities.
“The best part of being an RSVP Grandfriend for me is when I am doing group time and I finish reading a book or telling a story and one of the children will say, ‘Read another one!’ And of course – the hugs,” laughs RSVP Grandfriend Susan Lewis.
The program is designed to provide intergenerational opportunities for children to grow and learn, and classrooms are located throughout the greater Tulsa area. These early childhood programs hope to foster the healthy social and emotional development of every child, beginning in the earliest months and years of a child’s life. Quarterly meetings are scheduled throughout the year to provide Grandfriends an opportunity to share with other volunteers and receive ongoing training.
RSVP is an organization of community service volunteers who are 55 plus. The needs of Creek, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington Counties in Oklahoma are diverse and numerous, and all citizens benefit when people work together to solve problems. Many RSVP partner agencies and organizations could not exist without the time, experience, expertise, skills and dedication of volunteers. Top priority of RSVP is to ensure self-fulfillment and personal satisfaction in volunteer service.
Do you have a hug to give away and a desire to be a positive influence in the lives of young people? Please call Jan Kelley at RSVP Tulsa, Inc. at (918) 280-8656 or email eat0@eau0eav0eaw0 for more information.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.