RSVP color logo     
   What's New & Noteworthy from RSVP
     February 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.

  Remembering Board Chair 
  Diane Wiedenbeck
     RSVP was deeply saddened at the sudden passing of Board President Diane Wiedenbeck in January. Diane was one of those people who made an impact on the organizations that she joined and her time as a volunteer with RSVP was no exception. "Diane was a positive force who worked hard and made things happen," said Margie Zutter, RSVP Executive Director. "She leaves a big hole."
     "Diane was not just a co-worker but a good friend," Triad Program Coordinator Mary Stamstad said. "She went beyond the 'call of duty' in everything she did. Under her guidance, the Cottage Grove Triad was recognized in 2014 by the State Triad Board for its exemplary work and that was only a small part of her impact. She was an amazing advocate for seniors in the Cottage Grove area and beyond. She will be missed by everyone who knew her."
     According to fellow board member Mick Maier, "I will miss working with her in recruiting new board members. She was a strong leader, great advocate for RSVP and rapidly becoming a good friend. I miss her already."
     Diane began volunteering with RSVP in 2004 and established the Cottage Grove Triad in that same year. She was on the RSVP Board of Directors, most currently serving as the Board President, and was a member of the Executive Committee, Recognition Committee, and Nominating and Board Development Committee. 

     She also served on the Board of Directors of the State Triad -- the National Association of Triads being a program that promotes safety and crime prevention for seniors. Locally, RSVP's Triad Program partners with the Dane County Sheriff's Department, local police departments, senior agencies, and others in the community to bring vital safety information to Dane County seniors.   Diane was also spearheading a Triad Program with the Ho Chunk elders.
     Diane was a key architect of the Dementia Friendly Cottage Grove Team in 2015 as an offshoot of the Cottage Grove Triad, and spearheaded formation of the Cottage Grove Memory Café. The Dementia Friendly Team works to educate businesses and agencies on treating people with dementia in a respectful and meaningful way. The Memory Café is a safe place for those with dementia and their caregivers to meet monthly for coffee and programs.
     In addition to her RSVP volunteer work, Diane was on the Bethel Horizons Bike-a-Thon Committee, a fundraising event which benefits more than 6,000 youth annually in the year-round program at Dodgeville's Bethel Horizons Nature and Adventures Center. She also sang in the choir at the Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison, and was Secretary for the Bethel Remodel Committee.
     As you can see by her level of involvement in these organizations, Diane never dabbled; she rolled up her sleeves and plunged in to bring her amazing energy, organizational skills, and professionalism to everything she did. She left her mark on all who worked with her and will be deeply missed.

   Bus Buddy Tours 2018
Come Join the Fun and Learn to Use the Bus!

     Bus Buddy Tours offer seniors, age 60 and older, an opportunity to go on a group trip by city bus to a designated location while learning how to navigate the Madison Metro Bus System. 

     The program was designed to help ease the way for those who are not used to using the bus system, while creating a fun social group outing for those involved.   Thanks to AAA and Dane County Human Services for the financial  support they provide for this program. 

To join us for any of these trips or for more information, contact:
Wednesday April 25: Olbrich Gardens
Enjoy a light breakfast at Daisy Cupcake Café followed by a tour
of Olbrich Gardens' Bolz Conservatory, an indoor tropical paradise.
Thursday May 17: Madison Children's Museum
Enjoy a tour and hands-on fun at the Children's Museum followed by lunch in the cafe.
Tuesday June 19: Wisconsin History Museum
Explore the exhibits of the museum followed by l unch and a free concert on the Capital Square.
Wednesday July 18: Vitense Golfland
Have fun playing miniature golf followed by a light lunch.
Thursday August 16: Chazen Museum of Art
Tour of the museum followed by lunch on the lake
at the UW Memorial Union
The Bus Buddy Program Needs  Volunteer Ride Coordinators

     Have fun coaching and training others to navigate the Madison Metro Bus system using maps,  bus schedules, and the internet. 

     Coordinators s hould have experience using public transportation in their community, b e willing to accompany new riders on their first 2-3 outings, and b e prepared to spend up to 4 hours escorting new riders on excursions.
     Ride coordinators receive bus passes and f ree excess accident and liability insurance while on assignment, as well as the s atisfaction of helping others to become more independent and mobile
     News from Group Projects 

Thanks Lands' End!

    RSVP quilters are resourceful recyclers who use donated fabric pieces to create lovely and comforting quilts.
     In November 2017, RSVP was grateful and honored to receive a generous donation of sheets from Lands' End -- five cartons with a retail value of more than $1,300 that will translate into hundreds of quilts. 

      It's supportive community partners like Lands' End that make the Group Projects program such an economical program, as well as one that reaches thousands of people in need across Dane County.  Thanks Lands' End.

Special Request Projects
Darling dolls made for 4C by volunteers in Belleville, Fitchburg and Mount Horeb.
   A big shout out to our Belleville, Fitchburg and Mount Horeb groups for making these precious dolls for Madison's Community Coordinated Child Care (4C) Program! 

       This was a special project that 4C requested for the training of their childcare providers, as well as for the children to enjoy. In all, more than 50 dolls were made and donated in January. 

      O f course, 4C was thoroughly impressed with the creativity and care that went into making these dolls and we were so proud to be a part of this project!  Thanks again to our volunteers for taking on special requests like this one with such grace and enthusiasm! 
     Also, a quick reminder to all volunteers to spread the word to their circle that Group Projects is always seeking volunteers to join the RSVP team to create handcrafted items (sewing, quilting, knitting or crocheting)  that are donated to non-profit organizations throughout Dane County, to keep people warm and safe!  We can all make a difference together!
     Contact Kate Seal, G roup Projects Coordinator, 310-7280 or, for more information!
  Congrats Volunteer Drivers 

        balloons_flying.jpg The RSVP volunteers who drove passengers and delivered meals to folks in Dane County deserve a round of applause for another great year of service.  The driving force of 654 volunteers delivered 87,756 meals to seniors and veterans in Dane County communities outside of Madison, which is an increase of 3,318 meals from 2016.

     Although the program had 23 fewer drivers than the previous year, they still managed to clock 32,254 hours (an increase of 40 hours) and log 422,978 miles (an increase of 13,188 miles) to drive passengers and deliver meals.  This service is key to helping these seniors and veterans to remain living independently in their homes. 

     Our drivers continue to be a source of inspiration - they show such dedication to this program and to the people they serve - RSVP and our partnering Senior Centers are blessed to work with them.

     If you would like more information about joining this amazing group of volunteer drivers, contact Mary Schmelzer, 441-7896 or

 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:

Friday, March 30
Afternoon only
Good Friday

  Triad Events
West Madison:

Traffic Safety 
Wed., February 28 
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Officer Tara Boldebuck, MPD 
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Detective  Darrel Moore, MPD 
RSVP Community Room, 
517 N. Segoe Rd. Ste. 300, Madison

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

Cottage Grove Triad:

Outsmarting the Scam Artist: the Con Artist's Playbook
Tues., February 27
 10 a.m.  
Sam Wilson, State Dir. AARP WI
Taylor Ridge Senior Apts. 
510 Westlawn Dr., Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove Memory Café
Wed., February 28
9:30-11:00 a.m.
Hope Lutheran Church
3702 County Hwy AB, McFarland
for more information, 608-203-8500

Wed., March 7
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 
* L unch provided
Attorney Forrest John Crawford, Hometown Legal Services
Aster Retirement Community
139 E. Reynolds, Cottage Grove
*Reservations required, call Katie Drea, 608-333-9306  

C urrent and Favorite
Scams and Frauds
Tues., March 27
10:00 a.m.
Attorney Forrest John Crawford
Taylor Ridge Senior Apts.
    510 Westlawn Dr., Cottage Grove

Stay Independent as You Age, Assistive Devices for a
More Mobile Life
Tues., April 24
 10 a.m.
Andrew Lopez, Living Specialist, Access to Independence
Taylor Ridge Senior Apts.
  510 Westlawn Dr., Cottage Grove 

Self Defense for Seniors
Tues., May 8
Randy Beck, USA Karate
316 W. Cottage Grove Rd.

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

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!
March 6
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at
Verona Rd. & Cottage Grove Rd. Walgreens

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

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

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
  Mary Schmelzer,  441-7896

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

  Jan  Karst  
441-7891 or

DAIS (Domestic Abuse Intervention Services)  is looking for volunteer reception desk help.  Can you spend a few hours a week in the mornings answering the phone and greeting visitors?  They also need volunteers who can help with general maintenance of the building.
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 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. 
RED CROSS  is looking for volunteers to help transport blood products to hospital customers.  Since you would be using a Red Cross vehicle, you must pass a MVR check.  They also need clerical help in Fund Development and Service to Armed Forces. 
 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.
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). 
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.
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!

Shelby Connell
441-7894 or

DEFOREST & SUN PRAIRIE SCHOOLS n eed volunteer tutors for grades K-12.
 Volunteers are matched 1:1 or with small groups of children, helping primarily with literacy and math. Students receive individualized attention needed to excel in the classroom. A great way to share your time, stay active and make a great impact in the community!
DEFOREST & SUN PRAIRIE BUILDING BRIDGES needs v olunteers who are matched 1:1 with a child, helping primarily with literacy and math.  Also serve as a mentor to help increase students' overall success by promoting emotional wellness.
SPECIAL PROJECTS, GUEST SPEAKERS needed in area schools.   Volunteers will share with students their personal stories related to events in history or share their expertise on a variety of topics.  There are two annual Special Projects that take place in the spring:
    DeForest Bio Link Project : Each year five to seven volunteers are guest speakers at the DeForest Middle School.  They share with the students events in their lives when they had to overcome difficult obstacles.  The focus of this project is to teach students about resilience, facing challenges in life, and perseverance.  Students interview volunteers and then complete a project on what they have learned.  The volunteers return to the school for a lunch and to view all of the students' class presentations. 
     Madison Memorial High School History Project : Volunteers are invited each year to participate in the Oral History Project with students at Memorial High School.  Volunteers participate in small-group interviews on what their life was like during the Great Depression and WWII.  The students then compile a written documentation of the oral history.
COMMONWEALTH DEVELOPMENT , MOCK INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES : Commonwealth conducts several sessions of a Youth-Business Mentoring Program and Employment Workshops during the year, in which they teach students the basics of looking for a job, applying and interviewing successfully, problem-solving on the job, and successful financial management.  For each of these sessions, they need volunteer mock interviewers who act as managers, supervisors, and owners of businesses.  Volunteers interview students one-on-one, as if the student was actually interviewing for a job, and then get the chance to provide feedback on how the student did.  It's a truly valuable experience for students to get an opportunity to learn about the working world.
Diana Jost
441-1393 or

FOSTER GRANDPARENT PROGRAM Offers men and women, 55 years of age and older, the opportunity to serve their community by sharing their time and love with children.  Foster Grandparents are caring individuals who devote at least 15 hours a week to supporting children to improve school readiness and literacy, and helping them to be successful learners.  They are consistent, caring role models providing one-on-one adult attention that can help set a child on a path to a secure future.  In improving the lives of the children they serve, Foster Grandparents greatly enrich their own lives.  Must meet certain eligibility requirements, please call Diana Jost at 441-1393 or

Kate Seal
310-7280 or

Do you enjoy knitting, crocheting or quilting AND want to make a difference in our community? Join RSVP volunteers  making items for warmth and comfort for non-profit organizations around Dane County! Work from home OR in one of the groups located across the county. Supplies are provided. 

Happy Valentine's Day!