RSVP color logo     
   What's New & Noteworthy from RSVP
     May 2018

RSVP's mission is to make a positive impact in the community by recruiting volunteers 55 and older to help deliver priority services to people of all ages, providing Dane County with a valuable resource.

  Volunteering & Social Isolation:
  Reach Out -- You'll Live Longer!
   S ocial researchers have long known that loneliness can be a health risk and that people who develop a network of people in their lives, tend to  live longer, healthier lives. 

    Because RSVP is a volunteer placement agency, we are often in the position to witness how getting involved scores a win for both volunteers and the people they're helping.  

A survey of volunteers that was conducted by our national office, the Corporation for National and Community Service, found that after just one year of volunteer service:
  • Nearly half of the Senior Corps volunteers reported improved health and well-being, and more than one-third initially reporting they were in good health, reported improved health at the end of the one-year period.
  • Almost two-thirds of Senior Corps volunteers reported a decrease in feelings of isolation, and 67% of those who first reported they "often" lack companionship, reported improved social connections.
  • Seventy percent of Senior Corps volunteers who initially reported five or more symptoms of depression reported fewer symptoms at the end of the first year, while 63% of volunteers initially reporting three or four symptoms of depression also reported fewer symptoms. 
Locally, a 2016 survey of RSVP drivers, showed the personal value the drivers place on their volunteer work, which is well represented by the comment of one respondent who shared, "It not only helps the elderly remain in their homes longer, but gives some purpose to my existence as well. It feels good to be able to help others." 

Additionally, people who volunteer in Dane County schools were surveyed about their volunteer experiences in 2017 and shared similar sentiments of belonging: "It makes me feel like part of the solution," said one.  "It definitely helped me maintain a sense of purpose and self-worth after retirement," added another. 

During the course of the coming months, RSVP will be looking at what role volunteering plays in combating social isolation -- we invite you along as we explore this topic -- look for more in the upcoming newsletters. And for goodness sake, if you're not already volunteering, think hard about helping your health out by volunteering now.

For more about volunteering's benefits and opportunities available, tune into Senior Beat during the month of May, when they will explore Intergenerational Programs in a conversation with Laurie Bibo, Intergenerational Coordinator with the Madison Senior Center, and Shelby Connell, Intergenerational Program Coordinator with RSVP of Dane County.  

They talk about the positive impact of intergenerational programming and how to get involved. Janet Bollig with SSM Health at Home also speaks about the problem of social isolation among seniors.

Senior Beat airs in May: Tuesdays at 12:30pm, Wednesdays at 4:30pm, Fridays at 12:00pm, and Saturdays at 4:30pm on Madison City Channel (Charter Analog 98, Charter Digital 994 and AT&T U-verse 99).

   Triad Safety Conference 2018:
   "Keys to a Safer Life"
   S afety has become a front-of-the-mind  issue for all of us -- in our homes and cars, on our phones and computers, dealing with our finances and travels, it sometimes  seems like a whole new world out there.  And the more we know about how to protect ourselves, the better off we are!

Learn more about these pressing issues and more at the 16th RSVP/Triad and Triad of Wisconsin's Crime Prevention and Safety Conference on September 28, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at American Family Insurance Training Center in Madison, WI. 

The conference, titled "Keys to a Safer Life," will focus on learning to keep ourselves and those we care about safe.  Trudy Gregorie, National Adult Protective Services Assn. Executive Director, will be a featured speaker. 

Participants can choose from a wide variety of workshops, including:  Scams/Frauds, Hoarding Task Forces, Peer Bullying in Senior Facilities, Loneliness and Elders,  Elder Victim Services/Elder Abuse Coalitions, Prescription and Illegal Drugs/Opioids/Meth, Dementia Friendly Communities/Memory Cafes, Estate Planning/Final arrangements and Frauds, Issues in Long-term Care Facilities, Personal Safety, How to Organize/Maintain a Triad, and Active Shooter Training. 

The event includes a continental breakfast, lunch, vendor exhibits and workshops.  The cost is $25 for those registered by August 15, and $35 for those registered after August 15.   For more information, contact Mary Stamstad, or 608-441-7897.
     Bus Buddy Volunteers Win
     Distinguished Service Award

   C ongratulations to RSVP of Dane County's Bus Buddy Coordinators for winning the United Way of Dane County 2018 Distinguished Service Award. Pictured from left to right: Susan Morrison, Heather Johnson, Bruce Verhelst, Angela Haskin.

Bus Buddy Coordinators accompany new senior bus riders to teach them how to get around town on the Madison Metro bus system, providing them with the confidence they need to use this low-cost transportation that's available to them seven days a week! Along with one-on-one coaching, the program hosts group Bus Buddy Tours each Spring/Summer that transform a bus ride into a social event (see calendar of events) that participants really enjoy.  

Congrats to our Bus Buddy Coordinators and the Bus Buddy Program for helping seniors find their way around town!

  Meet Mary Brown, RSVP's New
  Foster Grandparent Coordinator
Foster Grandparents pictured left to right, front row: Pat Everhart, Mary Brown, Charlotte Rankin and back row, Linda Walter, Larry Orr, Judy Rubiel-Perez.

   M name is Mary Elizabeth Brown. I am the new Foster Grandparent Coordinator. Since retiring as a federal employee, I have been an active volunteer with a number of nonprofit organizations. I have volunteered with the NAACP-Dane, NAACP-Wisconsin, Tenant Resource Center, YWCA, and, of course, RSVP.

Retirement and volunteering with nonprofits, especially RSVP, has allowed me to continue advocating for seniors by serving as a resource.
Knowing how fulfilling my volunteer work has been, I was excited to have the opportunity to join RSVP as the new Foster Grandparent Coordinator.

In addition to my volunteer interests, I regularly spend time with family and friends. A real bonus discovered during retirement has also been the joy of being a member of the African American Genealogy Group of Madison. We have spent more than 11 years writing family stories. We published our book two years ago. Along the way, we donated copies of our book to all city of Madison public libraries, wrote and received a Dane County Arts Grant and gave public presentations to tell our story. We were more than happy to share our stories with others in the Madison area. 

As our reward for a job well-done, we decided to treat ourselves to a Washington, DC trip to tour the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. While we actively research this trip, I have planned some summer travels for a family reunion with a side trip to the newest museum in Montgomery, Alabama, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum.

I look forward to meeting more Madison residents who just might be interested in discovering the joys of volunteerism. Perhaps a mentor/tutor with the Foster Grandparent Program will be just the ticket for fulfilling your retirement years.

If you are interested in learning more about the Foster Grandparent Program, please contact me by email at  or call me at (608) 661-4271.

 Thanks to our major Sponsors
MG&E and Ho-Chunk Nation

RSVP color logo

Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Dane County

517 N. Segoe Rd., Ste. 300,
Madison WI 53705

Important Dates

RSVP Office Closed:

american_flags_grass.jpgMon., May 28
Memorial Day

In Honor of all the soldiers who laid down their lives in service to our nation.

Wednesday, July 4
Independence Day

Bus Buddy Tours:
Madison Children's Museum
Thurs., May 17 
Museum tour & hands-on fun followed by lunch in the cafe.
Wisconsin History Museum
Tues., June 19 
Explore museum exhibits,  followed by l unch & concert
on the C
apital Square.
Vitense Golfland
Wed.,  July 18
Play a round of miniature golf followed by a light lunch.
Chazen Museum of Art
Thurs., August 16 
Tour museum followed 
by lakeside lunch 
at the UW Memorial Union

For more information, contact: 
Diana Jost at 608-441-1393 or
Jan Karst at 608-441-7891

  Triad Events
West Madison:

Travel Safety
Wed., May 23
 10:30 a.m.
  Ed Mani, Burkhalter Travel 
6501 Mineral Point, Madison 

Wed., July 25
 11:30 a.m.
  Emily House, Madison Police Dept. 
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
5701 Raymond Rd. Madison 

Cottage Grove Triad:

 Living with Anxiety, Depression & other Mental Health Issues
Tues., May 22
10:00 a.m.
 Kathryn Mellom, NAMI 
Taylor Ridge Senior Apts. 
510 Westlawn Dr., Cottage Grove 

We All Forget: Is it Normal Aging or Should I be Concerned?
Thurs., June 26
10:00 a.m.
Speaker TBD
Taylor Ridge Senior Apts. 
510 Westlawn Dr., Cottage Grove 

Dogs On Call
Tues., August 28
10:00 a.m.
Artie Bernig, Vice President
Taylor Ridge Senior Apts. 
510 Westlawn Dr., Cottage Grove 

Verona Triad

Human Trafficking
Mon., May 21
10:00 a.m.
Tod Dosher, Dane Co. Sheriff's Office
Verona Senior Center
108 Paoli St., Verona

Ombudsman Program
Mon., June 4
10:00 a.m.
Jill Melville, WI Board on Aging and Long-term Care
Verona Senior Center
108 Paoli St., Verona

For more information, contact 
Mary Stamstad at
608-441-7897 or

Visit RSVP at Walgreens
Senior Discount Days
RSVP distributes File of Life packets & other info at Walgreens each month. Stop by to  enjoy the senior discount!
June 5
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at
Verona Rd. & Cottage Grove Rd. Walgreens

July 3
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.  at
Northport Dr. & Mineral Point Rd. Walgreens

August 7
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at
S. Park St. & Raymond Rd.

2018 Sweepstakes
are Here!!!

A Tisket, A Tasket
You could Win a Basket 
in RSVP's Sweepstakes.  

Watch your mail for your entry form or go to our website to enter to win one of six amazing prize baskets! Click here to go to our website.

Our Sweepstakes drawing will be held Monday, June 18, 2018. You need not be present to win. 
A contribution is not necessary to enter or win, but would be appreciated.  Winners will be notified by phone and/or mail.

Volunteer Now!
Current Opportunities


DRIVERS NEEDED  to drive passengers who are seniors (60 yrs. and older) or veterans of all ages to important appointments, or to deliver meals to seniors in Dane County communities outside of Madison. You set your own schedule, no minimum hours required. RSVP provides mileage reimbursement and extra liability insurance.
Drivers are especially needed on the east side of Madison, in Mt. Horeb, Verona, Sun Prairie, and Deerfield.

If you are interested in driving:  
Seniors or Delivering Meals
  Mary Schmelzer,  441-7896

V eterans of all ages
& their families,
  Joe Miller,  238-7901 or 

  Jan  Karst  
441-7891 or

CATHOLIC MULTICULTURAL CEN TER on Beld St. serves a meal to about 85 people a day.  They need help to prepare the daily community meal!  The coordinator plans the menu and oversees it all ... all you have to do is show up and provide helping hands to put it together!
Put a smile on a child's face!
MADISON CHILDREN'S MUSEUM   has opportunities to assist education-programming staff around the museum.  Volunteers can also act as community-service ambassadors, working on special projects "behind the scenes" with data entry, photography, and marketing, as well as with events. 
ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL needs volunteers who would enjoy delivering mail and flowers, as well as bringing the morning beverage cart to visitors in waiting areas. Volunteers also print out and deliver e-cards to patients. Simple computer skills and the ability to walk distances are needed.
UNITYPOINT HEALTH - MERITER HOSPITAL  needs volunteers to assist in the Giftshop, sewing small tote bags, delivering floral arrangements or being part of the Lobby concierge team.
COMMUNITY ACTION COALITION GLEANERS  is looking for volunteers to do a weekly route of picking up excess food at one location (stores, etc.) and delivering it to another (food pantries and nutrition sites). 
MADISON INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS  creates opportunities for global awareness and understanding among people of different races, cultures, religions and social backgrounds.  They need volunteers in the following programs:  English Conversation Time, International Friendship Program, Global Spouse Connection, International Cooking, and Temporary Housing in August.
HENRY VILAS ZOO  would like volunteers to help drive the Zoo Train, operate the Carousel, greet visitors at the Zoo kiosks, and supervise the goat feeding area. Sounds like fun!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT INITIATIVE  works to reduce food insecurity and improve school performance in Madison area school children.  They strive to open one new school food pantry a year.  The goal is to have school/community take on financing and maintenance of the pantry.  You can be a Madison In-School Pantry Coordinator!
MADISON AREA FOOD PANTRY GARDENS   provide fruits and vegetables for area Food Pantries.  There are eight gardens that need lots of volunteers to plant, tend and harvest the bounty!  Get your hands dirty and help your neighbors with food  insecurity!  Call for the locations!
THE FRIENDS OF PHEASANT BRANCH CONSERVANCY  hosts Tunes on Tuesdays during the month of June ( 6:00-8:00 pm). Community, acoustical musicians are needed.  Are you interested/available to play for an hour?

Shelby Connell
441-7894 or
MADISON METROPOLITAN SCHOOL DISTRICT  is looking for volunteers to help with their 6-¬≠week long summer school program, which runs June 18-¬≠ July 27 (no school on July 4th ) in the mornings.  

UW DISCOVERY CENTER VOLUNTEERSShare your love of curiosity and science. As a volunteer, you'll help facilitate hands-on learning activities and provide information in a dynamic environment for kids and adults. Saturday Science and Summer expedition opportunities available, as well as Wisconsin Science Festival in the Fall.

Kate Seal
310-7280 or

RSVP is looking for an energetic volunteer to act as a liaison with the Verona project group at the Verona Senior Center on the first Tuesday of each month from approximately 
9:30 -
10:30 a.m.   (The group knits and crochets until close to 12:00 p.m., and you would be welcome to stay for great conversation and an opportunity to participate).  The volunteer needs a vehicle to deliver materials (yarn and fabric) to the group   and  finished items back to the RSVP storeroom.

Mary Brown
238-7787  or
FOSTER GRANDPARENTS offers income eligible seniors, 55 and older, the opportunity to serve their community  by helping children improve school readiness, literacy and becoming successful learners. Foster Grandparents are consistent, caring role models providing one-on-one adult attention that can help set a child on a path to a secure future. Foster Grandparents greatly enrich the lives of the children they serve.   Must meet certain eligibility requirements, please call Mary Brown.