But what if changing a lightbulb or shoveling your driveway isn’t easy? As a Code Enforcement Officer whose responsibilities include enforcing snow removal, weed maintenance and other municipal laws, Sara Flores came across many seniors and disabled people in the City without the physical capability for labor intensive work. They can’t, however, be exempt from the law since many of these regulations are a matter of public safety. Not to be deterred, Sara decided she wanted to start a program whereby people in need could be matched with people who could help and who lived nearby.
“I saw a need and started looking for organizations to facilitate it,” says Officer Flores. It didn’t take long to find the High Country Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Started here in the valley in 1973, their mission statement is “[e]nriching the lives of men and women age 55 and older through meaningful volunteer opportunities that use their skills, abilities and life experiences in service to their communities.”
Mary Moon, Volunteer Manager, explained that the organization finds out the interests and skills of prospective volunteers and then matches them up with people and organizations in need. RSVP has a list of over 40 organizations and many individuals with whom to place volunteers. Many of these are right here in Rifle including the nursing home, hospital and Lift-Up. More volunteers are always needed and don’t be afraid of the 55 age description or the “retired” in their title. Mary says that anyone is welcome to either volunteer or utilize their services. And you don’t need an incredible skillset. “The little things make a difference,” she stated. No matter your interests or abilities, RSVP can make a match.
When asked about RSVP’s most utilized services, Mary points to Medicare assistance and tax preparation. Last year, RSVP helped in the preparation of taxes for over 400 people. Carl Vogt, a volunteer tax preparer, has lent his skills to RSVP since he moved to the area in 2012. He states that he helps out to “give back to the community. When I was employed, I didn’t have time.” Tax preparation is done free of charge and takes place in Rifle, Parachute, Glenwood Springs and once a year in Eagle and Craig and can accommodate Spanish speaking clientele.
Whether you are looking to volunteer or are need of a little assistance, RSVP is the answer. For more information, visit their website at http://www.highcountryrsvp.org/ or call 970-947-8460. You can also speak with Rifle Community Service Officers Sara Flores and Dawn Neely by contacting non-emergency dispatch at 970-625-8095. On a side note, Dawn is hoping to team up with RSVP to find volunteer dog walkers for seniors with pets. Hopefully, this service will be available soon.
Media Contact: Kathy Pototsky 970-319-8288