RSVP color logo     
   What's New & Noteworthy from RSVP
     May 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.
  Foster Grandparents Needed 
       In January, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) awarded RSVP of Dane County with a grant to administer its Foster Grandparent Program (FGP).

       RSVP happily welcomes Daniela Sponseller on board as the new FGP Program Coordinator, and she's hit the ground running.  "I'm excited to report that starting with the 2017-18 school year, we will be expanding the Foster Grandparent Program," Sponseller said.  "We are currently looking for adults 55 and older, who meet eligibility requirements and want to help children become successful learners."

      This rewarding position is a great way for people to really make a lasting impact in a Dane County classroom.  "Foster grandparents share their time and love with children in elementary schools or Head Start programs in Dane County for 15-40 hours a week," Sponseller added.  The expansion of the program will include placing 22 total volunteers in classrooms across the County during a three-year span.

      If you are interested in being a part of this wonderful program or want to learn more, please contact Andrea Beaster, (608)441-7894 or or Daniela Sponseller, (608)661-4271 or
 RSVP Driver Services  Program
 Earns Prestigious Natl. Award

        The National Volunteer Transportation Center (NVTC) awarded RSVP Driver Services Program with a 2016 STAR Award for Innovation.  The NTVC STAR awards recognize outstanding volunteer transportation programs and the involvement of their volunteer drivers in promoting and providing transportation services to passengers, especially older adult passengers.  RSVP was selected for this award among a field of 147 programs that submitted applications in 2016.  

     A team of professionals who work in the fields of transportation, volunteerism and aging, review the applications and select winners.  In addition to preparing an application, each applicant submitted a story written by a passenger who received their transportation services.  Carol Coughlin is the RSVP passenger who shared her story, which will be included in a book of 60 or more of these stories,  compiled by NVTC, which will be published in the late summer of 2017. 

    The NVTC awards are coveted by agencies providing volunteer transportation services because it compares their program with hundreds of others across the nation. Initiated by the Beverly Foundation in 2000, NVTC assumed the role of organizing the awards in 2014. 

     The purpose of NVTC is to provide assistance and support to volunteer transportation programs across America.  On an annual basis, these programs provide millions of rides and result in enormous time and dollar contributions of volunteer drivers.  The fact that volunteer driver programs generally provide rides at a low cost for the programs and their passengers, and at the same time provide assistance needed by people with physical and cognitive limitations is why some people refer to them as  . . . ."the hope of the future." 

     This is the third time that RSVP Driver Services program has been recognized on a national scale and along with the award, NVTC has awarded the program with a nice financial boost with a check of $7,000.  Hats off to all of our wonderful drivers and coordinators who help this program perform with such excellence and to our partners in Focal Points across the County whose administrative support for these programs makes them possible. 
   United Way Honors
   RSVP Volunteer 

     Senior volunteers are more important than ever and that's reflected by the fact that for the third year in a row, an RSVP volunteer has won a United Way Community Volunteer Award. Robert Rahn, is a 2017 Distinguished Service Award winner for his volunteer work for the past 15 years with the City of Madison Police Department.  Rahn devoted 100 hours every month, to lead a volunteer initiative which offers a way for retired police officers to remain involved in the department and continue to use their experience, training, and wisdom to help support the work of active officers. In addition to this honor, $250 was awarded to RSVP.
Other RSVP volunteers receiving nominations from the agencies where they volunteer are  Trudy Brule Kay Frazier,  Kay Kaufmann, Lynn Klink, Mary Ploeser,   Sylvia Rausch, and Margaret Van Weelden.
Recent recipients include Karl Stadler who received the Mike McKinney Community Volunteer Award in 2016 and Jim Jenkins who received a Distinguished Service Award in 2015. In addition, RSVP received the Distinguished Service Nonprofit award in 2015.   RSVP is so appreciative to our RSVP volunteers and happy that they have received these well-deserved awards. 

   RSVP and Community Friend
   Lori Wirth is Retiring

Lori Wirth with former Fire Chief Amesqua
    OK ... corny play on words here, but Lori's last name should be spelled with an "o" rather than an "i." That's because of the great value Lori has added to our community in her 13 years with the Madison Fire Department. Lori has spent those 13 years as a public information officer, which doesn't nearly tell the whole story.
     I first met Lori at about three a.m. at a fire scene. Through RSVP, I had volunteered with the Red Cross and was responding to help people displaced from the fire.  I was new to the job, didn't have much idea what I was doing and was nervous as I could be. There was Lori, in her fire fighter's uniform, working with the residents who were out of their homes, making statements to the press, getting updates from the scene commander and making everybody's life easier. Her competence, friendliness and willingness to help, made me comfortable at the scene, and over the years she did so again and again. And the next morning, while I was able to sleep in a bit, Lori was likely still up, giving a fire safety class to school kids, or seniors or anything in between.
     Lori began her public information career as a journalism student at the University of Missouri - Columbia, one of the country's premiere "J-Schools." After graduation, she became a TV reporter in Jonesboro, Arkansas, before moving to the larger market of Green Bay, Wisconsin. After becoming a young mother, Lori left the rat race of TV to work part time in advertising, and reporting for newspapers and radio stations.
     Education being in her blood, Lori's next job took her to Blackhawk Tech in Janesville, where she did marketing and recruiting for college programs. That career was winding down when the Janesville GM plant slowdowns affected Blackhawk Tech. It worked out for the best for Madison residents, though, because along came the opening with the Madison Fire Department.
     Lori was a firefighter. While she may not have operated a ladder or hose, her fire safety and home safety work was a huge factor in preventing many folks from ever having to experience fire and safety hazards. Fire prevention is as important as fighting others fires that do happen, and Lori was on the front lines of prevention. She was also a loyal and energetic Triad contributor, giving safety classes and working on the Triad planning group. And wherever she went she wore a big smile and had helpful and positive ideas to share with the community.
     Lori is not retiring completely, just taking her skills and energy to another great organization. She will work 20 hours a week for Goodwill Industries, as a community relations and outreach coordinator. She's also the grandmother of three kids who all live in Southern Wisconsin. So she will be very busy. If things slow down, I'd love to recruit her for a role at RSVP!
     It has been an honor to work with Lori Wirth, and we at RSVP and Triad wish her a long, healthy and productive retirement. Thanks so much, Lori!    
by Jim Jensen

     Volunteerism's Impact 

     RSVP happily celebrated National Volunteer week in April and Senior Corps week in May because we know that volunteers play a pivotal role in solving many societal problems. Volunteerism is also an important way that older adults can stay healthier, both physically and mentally, by being active, involved, contributing members of their communities.

     In Dane County alone, our impact is tremendous: Our 1,600+ volunteers provide 180,000 hours of service each year, with a value of $4.2 million to the community.  These services save taxpayer dollars because of the volunteer time contributed.

     RSVP is able to reach out into the community and connect agencies with volunteers on such a large scale because of public funding.   The Corporation for Community and National Service (CNCS), a federal agency that provides us with 29% of our budget, has been a stalwart supporter.  CNCS knows that the value the RSVP volunteers add to a community is money well spent. They are essential partners and we are deeply grateful for their continued support of our programs, as well as the new funding they provided for us to expand our Foster Grandparent Program.

     Dane County Department of Human Services shares this commitment to volunteerism, as the major funding source for our Driver Services program.  Because we serve all of Dane County, this department sees firsthand the impact of their funding of the Driver Services program where volunteers delivered 84,438 meals to seniors in communities outside of Madison, and provided 8,585 rides to 1,144 senior and veteran passengers who had no other form of transportation.

     We are also grateful for the continued support from the City of Madison, City of Monona, and State of Wisconsin.  We would not be able to provide these important services without their funding.  We thank our public funders and taxpayers for supporting the efforts of RSVP and Foster Grandparent Program volunteers.  We encourage you, our volunteers, to share your stories with your legislators about how volunteering has made a difference in your life.

     Madison and Dane County
    Celebrate Volunteers 

     In April, CNCS celebrated Mayor and County Day of Recognition for National Service. To mark the event, the Dane County Board of Supervisors signed a resolution to thank those that serve and find ways to give back to their communities during their meeting on April 6. 

     In addition, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and the Madison Common Council also thanked and recognized the National Service members  Senior Corps (RSVP and FGP), AmeriCorps, and VISTA volunteers for the positive impact they have in their community at their April 18 meeting.    
Thanks to our major Sponsor   MG&E
Important Dates

RSVP Events

Monday, June 21
8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
RSVP Annual Meeting
Oakwood Village
RSVP's office closings: 

 Monday, May 29
  Memorial Day

Bus Buddy Events
June 7 
Henry Vilas Zoo
July 13
Wisconsin Veterans Museum

August 17 
Madison Public Library
Bubbler Room  
For more information, contact 
Diana Jost  
or 441-1393.

  Triad Events

Cottage Grove:
May 23
10:00 a.m.
'Detecting & Reporting Financial Crimes Against Seniors:
What You Can Do to Help'
Taylor Ridge Senior Housing
510 Westlawn Dr.

June 27
10:00 a.m.
' Downsizing with Ease:
Where to Start &
What Help is Available'
Taylor Ridge Senior Housing
510 Westlawn Dr.

May 17
12:30-2:00 p.m.
'Defense and Arrest Tactics '
Verona Senior Center
108 Paoli St.

June 7
12:30 p.m.
'K9 Program'
Verona Senior Center
108 Paoli St.

July 14
12:30 p.m.
'Community Paramedic Program
of Fitch-Rona EMS'
Verona Senior Center
108 Paoli St.

West Madison:
May 24
10:30 a.m.
'Scams, Frauds and Thefts. Oh My'
Meadowood Library, Room B
5726 Raymond Rd.

June 21
10:00 a.m.
'Transportation Options for Seniors in Madison & Dane County:
An Overview
Prairie Park Apartments6530 Schroeder Rd.

July 26
10:00 A.m.
'Money Safety for Seniors' 
Location TBD
Call 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 and
enjoy the senior discount!

Tuesday, June 6
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at
Corner of Whitney/Raymond and
East Washington Ave. stores

Tuesday, August 8
11:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. at
South Park St. and
Verona stores

Volunteer Now!
Current Opportunities

Call Mary Stamstad 
@ 441-7897 

Volunteer committee members are needed for local Triad Groups in Verona, West Madison, and Cottage Grove . Some committees meet monthly, others quarterly. Volunteers design surveys, flyers, assist in planning programs related to crime prevention and safety for seniors. They are needed to assist with free car checks, attend and facilitate programs, give presentations and chair and plan meetings. 

  Call Jan Karst 
@ 441-7891

PORCHLIGHT is looking for two volunteers to help cook /serve lunch at Safe Haven, a temporary housing & service center for folks who are homeless. Located at 4006 Nakoosa Trl.  Thurs. & Fri. lunch help needed btwn. 10:30 - 1:30pm
PORCHLIGHT PRODUCTS uses ingredients from Wisconsin farmers to help local residents turn their lives around by employing them to make tasty, quality jams, pickles & baking mixes to be sold at local grocery stores.  Volunteers are needed to host samplings at various stores.  Can you spend a couple hours putting jam on crackers and serving them to customers?
 ST. MARYS HOSPITAL needs volunteers who would enjoy delivering Mail and Flowers and deliver 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 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 as well as acting as community service ambassadors, community services, work on special projects "behind the scenes" with data entry, photography, and marketing and events. 
COMMUNITY ACTION COALITION GLEANERS is looking for volunteers for a weekly route picking up excess food at one location (stores, etc) and delivering it to another (food pantries and nutrition sites). 
V olunteer Guardians and Representative Payees are needed through the SOUTH MADISON SENIOR COALITION.  Can you spend a few hours a month helping a senior with paying their bills and taking care of other business they are no longer able to do alone?
Y ou can help HABITAT RESTORE by working a shift or two as a cashier, stocker, or unloading donated materials to be sold.  The profits from both stores go to help build new homes for low income residents.
RSVP BUS BUDDY PROGRAM is looking for seasoned bus riders to be Coordinators who can help others learn to ride the bus.  You would be paired with someone in the community who needs help learning to read the schedules and how to ride the buses and accompany them on one or two rides until they feel comfortable on their own.

SECOND HARVEST FOODBANK needs volunteers to help sort, label, or package food into family-friendly portions for distribution throughout their 16 county service area.
MADISON POLICE DEPARTMENT (MPD)* is looking for volunteers to help in the Burglary Crime Unit and the Self Report Unit making follow-up calls to victims to ask additional questions and provide contact information.  Training will take place at the downtown location and work can be done out of each precinct.

Volunteers needed to help during week-long Black Youth Academy (Aug.7-11) & Latino Youth Academy (Aug. 21-25) during the lunch hour or as an actor trained and given scripts for specific scenarios. Academies strive to break down barriers/cultivate a better understanding regarding the role and function of police, especially in communities of color.
Volunteers needed to act in scenarios as part of a program offering career mentorship to young adults, ages 14-20 yrs., in order to develop their skills/ leadership abilities and learn about the police profession. Program meets on 1st and 3rd Sunday evenings of the month at MPD Training Center.
MPD* CAMPHERO:  Volunteers needed to perform various tasks involved in CampHERO, a program through Girl Scouts designed to help girls, kindergarten through 12th grade, develop courage/confidence & build character while introducing them to police, firefighters, EMT/ paramedics and dispatchers. Camps run July 16-19, July 20-21, July 22, July 23-28 and July 29.
MPD* GARDENING:  Do you have a green thumb?! If so, MPD needs you to keep our district gardens looking great.
* MPD Volunteers will need to submit to and pass a background check completed by the Madison Police Department. Volunteers will also need to sign an agreement/ waiver of liability. 

Call Mary Schmelzer
@ 310-7280

RSVP OF DANE COUNTY is looking for someone interested in teaching knitting/crocheting at Madison Senior Center.  Schedule TBD by volunteer availability. 


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 

All Aboard the 
Sweepstakes Train

    Don't miss your chance to win a prize in RSVP's annual sweepstakes.

     Simpy enter your name for a chance to win one of six baskets filled with prizes acquired by our board members, volunteers and staff. 

Each basket is designed around a theme, which include:

     Lake Geneva Getaway - Lake Geneva Cruise Line boat tour, overnight stay at The Cove, hotel room welcome basket with a $30 Starbucks gift card.


     Bed and Bath - Handmade quilt donated by Shirley Coulter, $25 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card, soaps & bathroom supplies, hand towels, picture frame & a small print.


      Dinner and a Movie - $50 AMC gift card with assorted treats, $45 Applebee's gift card, $50 Food Fight gift card, $50 Target gift card and Hubbard Street Diner gift certificate.


      Around the County - Longaberger basket with Melotte Photo Imagery print, two small rugs, two picture frames, three Mary's Unique Boutique gift certificates, flameless candles, dishtowels and more.


      All Star Sports - Two American Family Senior PGA day passes, $50 Great Dane gift card, NOAA weather radio, four UW football tailgate passes with refreshments & live broadcast.


     Pamper Yourself -- $100 Studio 262 gift card, one hours massage from Bekki Massage, $50 Food Fight gift card, $50 Target gift card, and a gift card for two at Bassett Street Diner.


     To enter your name to win one of these prizes, visit the RSVP website to print off the entry form here.


RSVP color logo

Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Dane County

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