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June and July

RSVP News & Opportunities

RSVP Volunteers Make the Difference!

RSVP celebrates the good work our volunteers have done over the last two months! All of you are giving of your time and talents in various ways throughout northern Virginia and we are so thankful to support you in your journey.

There were a few specific projects RSVP could not have done without your faithful support: the VSAs where our volunteers offered much needed support for the food and beverage tables, parking, certificate and giftbag tables, and registration; the group service project with Providence Rec Center where we beautified the front of their building by mulching, trimming bushes, and planting flowers; and our Welcome Wednesday event where we crafted 37 seed bomb launchers and 185 seed bombs to create 37 Seed Bomb and Launcher Kits for CRi. Thank you to all of you who were able to lend a hand with one or more of these projects! 

Northern Virginia Senior Olympics 

The time has come! Northern Virginia Senior Olympics (NVSO) is recruiting volunteers! The Olympic-like events are scheduled for September 9-24 this year and they have added some new events to include disc golf, golf (9 hole, 3 par), synchro to the diving events, and an advanced level to the sudoku event. Events vary by date and location so check out their event page to see the complete list. Once you have chosen an event (or two or three) that you would like to volunteer, you should contact the event director for that specific event, and they will coordinate directly with you. Each event director's email information is listed on the event details page. Reach out to Karen Coon with any questions at kcoon@volunteerfairfax.org

At-Home Service Project 

Do you have transportation concerns that keep you from volunteering?

RSVP will offer occasional at-home service projects throughout the year to give you an opportunity to serve, no matter your transportation situation! For June and July, RSVP will be supporting the volunteer station, CRi, by creating garden sensory bins for their clients. These bins will help provide developmental tools to residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These tools can be used to provide stimulus to CRi clients in the comfort of their own home. Supplies will be dropped off to interested volunteers and finished projects picked up by the RSVP Volunteer Specialist, Karen Coon. Contact Karen if you are interested in completing an at-home project, kcoon@volunteerfairfax.org

Welcome Wednesday!

Mark your calendar for our Welcome Wednesdays in June and July!

These monthly get-togethers are held on the third Wednesday of each month and provide RSVP volunteers a time to connect with each other, enjoy some light refreshments, and work together on various projects to support our volunteer stations. 

Wednesday, June 21 from 1-3 p.m. 

Participants will prepare New Hope Housing’s quarterly newsletter mailing. Liza Feiler plans to be on-site with us to share more information about New Hope Housing and their volunteer needs. 

Wednesday, July 19 from 1-3 p.m. 

Participants will assemble care packages for the front-line workers at PRS, Inc., whose mission is to provide behavioral health, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services. Sami Smyth will join us to share more about PRS, Inc. programs and how interested persons can get involved. 

RSVP Summer Programs Focus on Safety  

June is National Safety Month and RSVP is coordinating programs, events, group service projects, and social opportunities during the summer months focused on amplifying a message around creating healthier and safer practices and environments where we volunteer and live. Throughout this newsletter, there are short articles on several summer-related safety topics as well as links to resources that might be of interest to our RSVP volunteers. 

In addition, during the next months, RSVP will host a ‘Bee’ Better educational presentation with a safety theme and a 'Talk About It' session with some of our local partners that support emergency preparedness responses throughout the Fairfax County area. Volunteer Fairfax’s newly hired Emergency Response Manager Chris Snell is assisting in the coordination of the session and will be a presenter to share how RVSP volunteers can get involved with Volunteer Fairfax’s Volunteer Emergency Team (VET). 

RSVP is also coordinating group service projects to support our Volunteer Station partners and these are scheduled for both the June 15 and July 20 Welcome Wednesday events at the Volunteer Fairfax/RSVP office from 1-3 p.m. Additional off-site group service projects that support the RSVP grant focus areas will also be scheduled at some sites throughout the Fairfax County area so that our volunteers can experience first-hand the good work of neighboring partners. Stay tuned over the next weeks for email information about the various opportunities to connect and engage.

Volunteer Specialist Karen Coon is committed to sharing weekly emails with RSVP volunteers on Mondays during the months of June and July to increase communication efforts and engagement of volunteers. Be sure to review her weekly updates and reach out to her with feedback or questions. 

While we know safety is important year-round, during these next months, we work to highlight actions that we can take to help prevent injury and death throughout our communities. We hope that you will follow along with the various offerings and participate as able as we all work towards increased awareness and prevention of the leading safety and health risks that cause injury and even death

What are Volunteer Service Hours Worth? 

On April 19, Independent Sector and the Do Good Institute of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy published their 2023 Value of Volunteer Time report. According to them, “We know putting numbers to volunteer hours will never do them justice, but it is just one way for us to show the contributions individuals and organizations have made in our communities.”

Nonprofits often use this number to show the impact of their volunteers in reports and grant proposals, and it can make a big impression. In our last grant year, you wonderful RSVP volunteers gave 7,716 hours of service. In 2022 dollars, that was worth $237,653 to the nonprofits and communities you work for! This year, your work will be worth even more, up from $30.80 hourly last year to $32.59 in 2023. 

Of course, monetary value is not the only, or even necessarily the best, way to honor your generous gift of time and talent. Food for Others puts it this way – volunteers do the work of 13 full-time employees, which stretches their resources and enables them to serve nearly 3,000 families a week. They couldn’t do it without you.

On an individual note, according to one 83-year-old client of Rebuilding Together, the improvements made to her home by RSVP and other volunteers were critical to helping her age successfully in place. “The stair lift changed my whole life,” she said. “I don’t have to crawl up the stairs anymore. I feel safe because you care.” 

So, no matter how you count them, your hours matter, to the person, the nonprofit, and the community you serve. Thank you! 

Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Tips  

Summer months don’t provide much cool weather, and something else that’s not cool during these months is the damage that can be caused to our skin and eyes by excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays. The longer your exposure, the greater risk of sun damage if you’re not protected. 

The sun is at its peak between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it’s important to head indoors or under shade during these hours. If you stay outside, sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, a board-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and breathable clothing that covers you can offer the most protection. 

Radiation from UV light is invisible but is always present, even when we can’t feel the sun. These rays can harm our skin and eyes. Aside from wrinkles and sunburn, exposure is associated with the development of skin cancer. Our eyes can be affected by cataracts, cornea damage, and vision loss if left unprotected. 

What can we do to stay safer? Always use broad-spectrum sunscreen which protects from both UVA rays that cause sunburn and UVB rays that cause skin damage. Realize that not all sunglasses are created equally and find wrap-around or oversized styles that offer more protection – make sure they block 99-100% of UV rays. Check out these helpful links on choosing the best sunglasses for your eyes and needs: How to Choose the Best Sunglasses for Your Eye Health; click below to read more.

How to select the best sunglasses

Defensive Driving for Mature Drivers 

The National Safety Council (NSC) has been America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate for more than 100 years focusing on areas where it can make the greatest impact through the workplace, roadway, and impairment.

Did you know that as we age, our mental reactions, situational awareness, vision, and motor controls may not be as sharp as they once were?

Driving in traffic, work zones, inclement weather, or even at night may become more challenging the older we get. Older Americans are encouraged to participate in defensive driving courses to sharpen their driving skills. NSC offers an online Mature Driver Defensive Driving Course and other valuable defensive-driver resources to help older adults learn new skills and refresh already learned skills. Check out the information on their website Defensive Driving for Mature Drivers.

See Defensive Driving Classes

RSVP Virtual Information Sessions for NEW AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteers

Word of mouth is one of the strongest recruitment tactics! 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 session scheduled as follows:  

RSVP-Northern Virginia is sponsored by Volunteer Fairfax

in partnership with Volunteer Arlington and Volunteer Alexandria.

RSVP-Northern Virginia is a program of AmeriCorps Seniors.