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   What's New & Noteworthy from RSVP
     August 2017

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.

  Seeing  History through  
  the Eyes of our Seniors
     Each spring, a handful of RSVP volunteers come together at James Madison Memorial High School to take part in a very special Oral History Project.  Year after year, JMM teacher Robin Staley hosts volunteers to be part of her history lesson for the day.  For several, participating in this project has turned into a commitment that has spanned the decades.  " Last year I walked around among the oral interview groups, getting a little misty-eyed about perhaps not seeing some of these people again," said Robin.  "We are reaching that point in terms of their ages. A few of these people...have been coming in for me for 20 years, so I feel pretty attached to them."  

     The volunteers, who are all in their 80s, 90s, or even 100 years old, spend the entire school day participating in small group interviews with nearly 100 students in total, on what their lives were like during the Great Depression and WWII.  The students then compile a written documentation of the oral history.  Robin mails out a copy of the reports to each of the participating volunteers for them to keep and share with their family.  In turn, it's hoped that the students will continue to share and discuss the history they have learned through the volunteers' stories.
Volunteers who participated in the annual Oral History Project at James Madison Memorial High School on May 5, 2017.   Standing: Myron Anderson*, Fannie Hicklin, Marilyn Celeschi, William Payne* and Robin Staley (JMM teacher).  Sitting: Fred Leidel*, Permela Lee DeSpain*, Mary Kraak*   ( *RSVP Volunteer)  RSVP Volunteer Not Pictured: Robert Coffin

     Talking with Robin and the students, it's clear they are excited to have the opportunity to hear about history from someone who lived it, versus learning out of a textbook.  This year, we were especially lucky to have Emma Wathen, an advance production student from the Department of Communication Arts at UW-Madison, volunteer her time and talents recording this year's Oral History Project interviews.  Emma rotated from group to group and captured segments of each of the volunteers' stories.  She is in the process of compiling a very special video that will not only be shared with our volunteers and their families, but also future history classes and community members. 

     DeForest Middle School also hosts an annual history project.  RSVP volunteers visited the school in May and shared their life experiences with the students.  The project focuses on perseverance and overcoming life's obstacles.  The middle school students interviewed the volunteers and then completed a PowerPoint presentation to share with them when they're invited back the following week.  It was great to once again witness the appreciation these students had for hearing history through senior community members. 

     Today's students clearly understand what a treasure it is to have these individuals volunteer their time and share their stories with them.  As Andy Rooney once put it, "The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person."

     Volunteers are needed to serve in many capacities within the Intergenerational Program.  If you are interested in volunteering with children, or for more information about any of RSVP's Intergenerational Volunteer Opportunities, please contact Andrea Beaster at 608-441-7894 or email at .

     Triad Crime Prevention & 
     Safety Conference & Expo
Triad of Wisconsin/RSVP Triad of Dane County's
15th Annual Crime 
Prevention and Safety Conference Expo
Taking Positive Steps in Uncertain Times: 
Learning to Stay Safe
Friday, September 22, 7:45 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
American Family Insurance Training Center,
6000 American Parkway, Madison
$35/$25 for age 60 + Includes continental breakfast and lunch

See the full schedule & register online at
or call 608-441- 7897

Plan to join other seniors, area law enforcement officials and senior  agency staffers for this important conference on crime-related and safety  issues that affect older adults.       
The day will include a  Welcome by Rock County Sheriff, Bob Spoden on  "Why Law Enforcement Needs the Community and Why the  Community Needs Law Enforcement" at 8:45 a.m. and a Keynote speech by  Trudy Gregorie, National  Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) Executive Director and National Triad  Association Board Member on "The Value of Triads for Community Response and Prevention of Crimes That Target Older Adults" at 9:00 a.m.

    Workshop topics will include elder abuse, safe driving strategies,
psychology used by con artists, heroin/opioid treatment projects, tools for tech savvy seniors, elder depression and suicide, identity theft, personal safety tips, aging in place, hoarding, and elder rights project.

     Major Sponsors: Old National Bank, Wisconsin Chiefs of Police
Foundation, Ho-Chunk, Area Agency of Dane County, Dane County
Sheriff's Office, Triad of Wisconsin, RSVP of Dane County, Corporation
for National & Community Service

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

Important Dates

RSVP Events
Friday, Sept. 22
8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Triad Crime Prevention and Safety Conference and Expo
American Family Insurance Training Center

Thursday, Oct. 26
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
(doors open at 10:30)
RSVP Volunteer Recognition Event
RSVP's office closings: 
 Monday, Sept. 4
  Labor Day

Bus Buddy Events
available  by appointment, contact Diana Jost, 441-1393 or
  Triad Events
Cottage Grove:
Free Car Winterization
October 21, 8 a.m.-12:p.m.
 Meineke Car Care 
 Call for reservations-839-8588
Cottage Grove Triad 

Free Car Winterization
October 13, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Hometown Auto
700 S. Nine Mound Rd.

Car-Fit Program
October 13, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Hometown Auto-
700 S. Nine Mound Rd.
This is a program through AARP, AAA or Madison College that determines how you 'fit' in your car for maximum safety. 

West Madison:
Free Car Winterization
October 4, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 
Firestone at West Town
7105 Mineral Pt. Rd.
Call for reservations, 441-7897 

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!
Tuesday, Sept. 5
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at
Mineral Point Rd. & Cottage Grove Rd. Walgreens

Tuesday, November 7
11:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. at
Raymond Rd. and E. Washington Ave.

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.  

If you are interested in driving:  
Seniors or Delivering Meals
contact  Gene Kundert,  441-7896 or

V eterans of all ages
& their families,
  contact   Jamie Johnston,  238-7901 or j 

  Call Jan Karst  
@ 441-7891 or

have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities including:  gift shop, assisting in several clinics, Children's Hospital, Cancer Center, Blood Drawing Lab, and Cafeteria.
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 Ecards to patients: simple computer skills and the ability to walk distances are needed.
SENIOR COALITIONS on all sides of Madison need Home Chore volunteers to visit elderly folks and help with light chores such as taking out the garbage, washing a few dishes, etc.  Many older adults can live independently in their own homes longer with just a little help from a friend!
Put a smile on a child's face!  MADISON CHILDREN'S MUSEUM has opportunities to assist education-programming staff around the museum.  Volunteers may also act as community-service ambassadors, working on special projects "behind the scenes" with data entry, photography, and marketing, as well as with events. 
DAIS (Domestic Abuse Intervention Services)  is looking for volunteer reception desk help.  Can you spend a few hours a week answering the phone and greeting visitors?  They also need volunteers who can help with general maintenance of the building.
UW ARBORETUM would like a volunteer Outreach and Education Program Aide.  Help with registration and implementation of classes, events, and trainings.
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). 
ST. VINCENT'S CHARITY PHARMACY offers free prescription medication to folks who are uninsured and meet income eligibility.  Volunteers are needed to help greet customers at the window and check them in and work with the Pharmacists to dispense the medications.
UNITED WAY 2-1-1  is a resource call center where people can get important information to obtain help with housing, food, jobs, etc.  Volunteers are trained to take calls and help callers with the information they need.
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!

Call Andrea Beaster
441-7894 or

VOLUNTEER TUTORS/CLASSROOM HELPERS  are needed for the start of the new school year.  Tutor placement begins in late September or early October, and tutor training is provided.  Volunteers can be matched one to one or can work with small groups of children, and the focus is on literacy and math.  Schools are also looking for volunteers to help in the library, art classes, office, lunchrooms, and as general classroom assistants.  The program requires a minimum commitment of one hour per week throughout the school year.

COMPUTER BUDDIES are needed to correspond with an elementary student throughout the school year.  Volunteers are matched with a student and communicate online in pen pal fashion on a weekly basis via a secure blogging site.    This is a fun way to volunteer without having to leave your home, and does not involve a big time commitment. 

FOSTER GRANDPARENT PROGRAM offers adults, age 55 and older, the opportunity to share their time, life experience and love with children as a mentor and a role model in Madison elementary schools or Reach Dane Head Starts.  Foster Grandparents are caring individuals who devote 15 to 40 hours a week helping children become motivated learners and succeed in life, and, if income-eligible, are paid a tax-exempt stipend and travel costs.  No formal experience is necessary, just a desire to help children thrive.
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Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Dane County

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