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October and November

RSVP News & Opportunities

Thank You is Never Enough

We will never stop saying “Thank you!” to our faithful volunteers. You all make such a difference, and we are so glad to have you on the RSVP team!

In the months of August and September, 10 volunteers served at Providence Rec Center in support of National Public Lands Day, 11 volunteers participated in a summer cookie exchange and stepped up to the last-minute challenge of stuffing hundreds of New Hope Housing’s quarterly newsletters, and 24 volunteers not only put together 250 food packs for Providence Elementary School students but also donated over $800 of food to make this project possible!

WOW. We are flabbergasted and humbled by the constant generosity of your time and resources as you serve, serve, serve.  

VolunteerFest is a signature event for Volunteer Fairfax and for over 30 years has galvanized people of all ages and abilities to volunteer and get to know local nonprofits. VolunteerFest 2023, the big countywide day-of-service event, is taking place this year on Saturday, October 21.

RSVP volunteers are encouraged to participate in one of the many community projects coordinated with local organizations. If you are interested in volunteering on Saturday, October 21, please communicate directly with Karen Coon, at [email protected], and she can find a work site that suits your interests and availability. There are needs for general RSVP volunteer support at the various projects and needs for a few RSVP volunteers to assist the partner organizations with volunteer management on event day.  


Foster connections and support organizations in completing wish-list projects, annual fall clean-up activities, and preparation for special holiday events! 

Welcome Wednesday:

What's That All About?

For those of you who are newer to RSVP, or those of you who are jumping back in, we want to share what Welcome Wednesdays are all about.

Once a month, on the third Wednesday from 1-3 p.m., RSVP hosts a group service project in our office space. These projects vary by month but are always done in partnership with one of our Volunteer Stations. These monthly events have two purposes: 1) to support our Volunteer Stations through service projects, and 2) to create a space for our volunteers to get to know one another, talk about their current or previous volunteer experience, and enjoy some light refreshments. We have some exciting projects lined up for the rest of the year, so mark the third Wednesday of each month on your calendar now! 

Our next Welcome Wednesday will be held on Wednesday, October 18. Volunteers will be packing STEP (Student Tools for Emergency Planning) program kits for 4th grade students in Fairfax County Public schools. 

In November we will meet on the fifteenth of the month and Mike Mixon, one of our dedicated and faithful volunteer leaders, has organized a group service project for the American Red Cross. We will be packing 100 Hospital Comfort Kits for veterans.  

Keep an eye out for reminders of these upcoming events in the weekly Monday Memo communications. We hope to see you there! 

Stop by and see the RSVP team as they host an RSVP table at the Venture into Volunteering Fair/Beacon 50+ Expo on Sunday, October 15, 2023, 12-4 p.m. These events will be held simultaneously at the Springfield Town Center with Venture into Volunteering on the lower level and the Beacon 50+ Expo on the upper level. There will be a wide array of information on local resources, along with the opportunity to get health screenings, flu shots, and vaccines. Both events are free to attend and there will be door prizes. 

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

As of October 1, 2023, we are officially six months into our third and last year of the 2021-2024 grant! We thought we would mark the occasion by sharing a few fun facts with you.

Over the last six months RSVP volunteers… 

  • Gave over 3,700 hours in service to the community 
  • Welcomed 45 new RSVP volunteers to the team 
  • Completed 12 group service projects 
  • Submitted over 350 timesheets 

YOU ALL ARE AMAZING!! We can’t wait to see what the next six months bring!

Speaking of Grants...

Disruption to Impact: RSVP Grant Application

Did you know that RSVP is funded primarily through an AmeriCorps Seniors federal grant and though the grant is awarded for a 3-year cycle, recipients must submit either a renewal or continuation application each year?

For a 2-month period each fall, RSVP focuses energy on pulling together a comprehensive grant application to communicate to the federal government the dedicated impact that RSVP volunteers have on strengthening our communities and improving the lives of our neighbors in Fairfax, Alexandria, and Arlington, Virginia.  

While a grant application is due each year, only once every three years, with the ‘renewal’ application process, are we able to reassess community needs and realign our program goals to tackle pressing challenges in the local service area. Since this year is our renewal year, the team has been hard at work identifying our successes and challenges, and determining a course of direction to move us forward.  

Since the last renewal grant for our program was written in the fall of 2020, and we all remember the fears and uncertainties associated with those times, the team has been wrestling with what makes sense for RSVP community engagement in 2024-2027 based on pandemic learnings and a post-pandemic landscape.  

Though we don’t have all the answers, we do believe that we need to continue to harness the vast creativity, experience, passion, and commitment of our 55+ age-group of volunteers to support and build the capacity of our local nonprofit partners. We must use the disruption of the past few years to transform the norm and leverage all resources so that we are pulling together as we continue to meet the critical needs of our neighbors.  

With a deadline of October 26 for submission of the renewal grant, we will keep our heads down, but our minds open to the information and data we are reviewing as we rethink our strategy and plan for continued success. RSVP volunteers are the heroes, giving and giving of themselves, and the RSVP program must showcase the generous efforts of all members.  

Shout It Out!

Recently, we asked our volunteers if they would consider writing a short testimonial on our behalf. We need these for many reasons – for proposals such as the one we’re working on now for the next three-year RSVP grant, for Volunteer Fairfax’s year-end report, to enhance our website, and to promote community generosity. 


We’ve been thrilled with your response so far! Here are some snippets from what we’ve received to date: 

  • I believe the “RS” in RSVP could stand for “Rewarding Service.” (Thank you, Janet, so do we!) 
  • …it's been amazing to see how giving a few hours of your time helps people in their everyday lives. (Carol volunteers with food distribution, which has become ever more important since COVID.) 
  • We can see the difference our support is making to the community, and we are also benefiting by meeting new people and keeping active in mind and body. (Jeanne and Chris are a husband-and-wife dynamic duo who volunteer for several different organizations.) 
  • The RSVP Northern Virginia organization is top notch, and I urge anyone eligible to consider joining its volunteer ranks. You will not be disappointed. (Mike is one of our most active volunteers and a true asset to the American Red Cross and RSVP!)


We’d love to hear your thoughts as well. If you’re at all interested in helping out, please contact Karen Coon, at [email protected]

Volunteer Fairfax's BusinessLink: Corporate Volunteers  

BusinessLink is a program that partners with local nonprofit and government agencies to provide exceptional volunteer opportunities for corporations and their employees. Our expertise in volunteer and event management provides companies and nonprofits with project management assistance so that they don't need to worry about all the details of running a successful volunteer activation. From developing projects to purchasing and delivering supplies, we do everything so that our corporate and nonprofit partners don't have to.  


Depending on the size of the volunteer group, sometimes our BusinessLink activations require volunteer support to properly manage them. For example, this October 10, we are managing the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association's volunteer day of service for 300 of their employees. To best engage 300 volunteers, we are simultaneously managing eight different projects across the D.C. and Virginia regions on October 10. Some of the organizations and projects include food organization and packing at the Capital Area Food Bank and at Bread for the City, sandwich making for Martha's Table, and putting together toiletry kits for disadvantaged youth for an organization called SMYAL. If you are interested in helping Volunteer Fairfax/RSVP staff manage the volunteers at any of these projects, please contact Karen Coon, at [email protected]. We would love to have some volunteer helpers with us for these exciting projects! 

Why So Many Seals?

You know the Good Housekeeping Seal, right? It’s awarded to products that were evaluated by the Good Housekeeping Institute and found to perform as intended. It’s sort of a guarantee that you’re buying something worthwhile. 


Well, nonprofits can be awarded seals as well, and Volunteer Fairfax (and hence RSVP) has three of them. 

Spur Local (known until a few months ago as The Catalogue for Philanthropy), has vetted local nonprofits since 2023. Every year, they induct around 80 thoroughly researched nonprofits into a four-year partnership, or "class." Prospective volunteers and donors go to their website to find organizations that align with their interests. Volunteer Fairfax has been a vetted nonprofit since 2011!

Candid was formed in 2019 when GuideStar and Foundation Center, two resources for donors, volunteers, and nonprofits seeking grants, merged. Volunteer Fairfax has the second highest seal and soon will be working on achieving the highest (platinum).

In 2022, The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia started Champions for Accountability as part of their efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity in the workforce. Volunteer Fairfax received this badge (okay, this one is a badge, not a seal) in the summer of 2023.  


Not bad for Volunteer Fairfax and RSVP! We’re proud of our efforts to be good members of the nonprofit and Northern Virginia communities.  

RSVP Virtual Information Sessions for NEW AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteers

Is there a friend, neighbor, or family member, age 55+, with whom we can share the impact that RSVP volunteers have on the community and encourage their participation with us?

Be sure to promote the next new volunteer information sessions scheduled as follows:    

RSVP-Northern Virginia is sponsored by Volunteer Fairfax

and is a program of AmeriCorps Seniors.