The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) was started in the 1970’s as a program of the federal government that was administered by local non-profit organizations all over the USA to provide a way for retired people to continue to use their vast knowledge and skills to benefit others. In fact both my grandfather and my uncle — retired printers from Barton Press Inc. of Newark and later West Orange — were both active volunteers with RSVP back in the day, and my mother — a retired publications director and world traveler — was an RSVP volunteer at Newark Airport at their Travelers’ Aid desk. Since my grandfather always wore a suit, and would tell me about the business coaching he did, I originally thought of RSVP as a mentoring program for young business people which engaged retired executives to help the new crop of entrepreneurs. But RSVP is vastly broader than that.
The RSVP program is administered through a federal agency called the Corporation for National Community Service, which has a Senior Corps volunteers division. http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/rsvp. The program hasn’t been available in Essex and Hudson County for three years and is now reactivated through the Jewish Family Service of MetroWest which will place the volunteers in a wide range of volunteer positions in settings as diverse as nursing homes, special needs & developmental disabilities programs, day care centers, hospitals, and vocational training programs. http://www.jfsmetrowest.org/rsvp
Retirement isn’t the end of the line – let it be the start of something new. Don’t let your skills go to waste just because you’ve ceased employment! There are so many ways that every person can help improve the lives of others, one interaction at a time.
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