If you’re looking to volunteer but aren’t sure where or how to get started, the Family Service’s Retired and Senior Person Volunteer Program is for you.
Family Service is a private, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that’s funded through dozens of businesses, organizations and agencies. It serves Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties, and seeks to pair volunteers with organizations that need them. Volunteers must be at least 55 years old; they can choose among more than 100 local public and non-profit organizations where you can donate your skills and experience.
“For example, when someone signs up to an RSVP volunteer, we have a whole list of things for them to pick that they are interested in,” said Karen Kraemer, director of the RSVP program. “If they don’t like it or it’s not a good fit, we can move them right on to the next one.”
Some volunteers work events such as the Freedom Celebration or the Taste of Champaign. People who enjoy animals can volunteer at the Champaign-Urbana Humane Society. Those who like interacting with kids can take part in a pen pal program with fourth- and fifth-graders. Those who like to drive might be a part of transporting seniors or delivering meals. The opportunities are plentiful.
“We get to know our volunteers really well so we know who will fit where,” Kraemer said. “We sent a lady who was 90 years old to Daily Bread, and the woman who runs Daily Bread told me, ‘Karen, when you first sent her to me I thought, what am I going to do with a 90-year-old woman? And she came in there and showed everybody how to do it!’ I knew the lady we were sending her, and I knew she would keep up with the youngest of them. She’s been awesome for them.”
RSVP has 608 active volunteers, Kraemer said. It is located in the Stevick Senior Center at 15 E. Main Street in Champaign.
To become a part of the program, visit the website, call (217) 359-6500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about volunteer options in Champaign-Urbana, check out our post.