Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)
The mission of the RSVP of South Central Texas is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. If you're interested in joining, please fill out an online application and email it to Director Barbara Weyland or call 830-379-0300.
About RSVP of South Central Texas
Who We Are
The RSVP of South Central Texas is an organization of diverse volunteers age 55 and over dedicated to providing service that meets critical community needs through senior volunteer leadership. It is funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service Senior Corps and also receives support from the United Way, the State of Texas, and local governments. RSVP serves as a way to enrich retirement for older adults through significant community service and encourages seniors to bring their lifetime of experience to community organizations and projects. When seniors join, they become part of a national movement of hundreds of thousands of committed, older volunteers striving to help their communities.
Recognition and training for both volunteers and volunteer supervisors, as well as coordination and cooperation with organizations serving as partner agencies are key aspects of RSVP operations. While children’s literacy is the primary focus, the program is also dedicated to local food banks, service to veterans and their families, disaster preparedness and disaster relief, and Senior Medicare Patrol. Volunteers also participate at Habitat for Humanity projects, thrift stores, and tourist information centers.
Originally formed in 1974 to serve Guadalupe County, RSVP of South Central Texas now serves Guadalupe, Wilson, Comal, and Hays Counties.
Who Can Be An RSVP Volunteer?
Any person age 55 or over, who wants to share the benefits of a lifetime of living is eligible. There are no restrictions based on education, income, or experience. Anyone who wants to feel useful, needed, and appreciated will profit from becoming part of the RSVP network.
What Do Volunteers Do?
Volunteers are matched with local and national organizations, giving them countless service opportunities in areas like disaster preparedness and relief, helping move people toward their financial independence and home ownership goals, assisting in classrooms or becoming a mentor, helping other seniors get the health care they need, serving in food banks, or assisting veterans and their families. RSVP Volunteers contribute an average of three hours per week and there there is no minimum requirement of service hours. However, to remain an active member, participants must volunteer at least once every three months. One of the great things about RSVP is that volunteers decide the hours and the days they want to participate. Any time contributed is greatly appreciated and coordinators will even tailor assignment to fit specific needs and preferences.
Volunteer assignments are not only important to RSVP; they're important to partner agencies and the public. All participants are expected to perform the duties to the best of their abilities, observe the days and hours agreed upon, cooperate with staff and other volunteers, and follow the policies set forth by the partner agency. If a problem should arise with respect to an assignment, please speak with the partner agency staff and/or someone at the RSVP office. Please inform the partner agency volunteer coordinator if you cannot report to your assignment, will be late, or must leave early. RSVP realizes that emergencies and conflicting commitments will arise. However, if you will be away for an extended period of time, or if you choose to discontinue serving at your partner agency, please inform both the agency and RSVP in advance. You may encounter confidential information concerning the partner agency, its employees, and/or people it serves. It is expected that all volunteers maintain the confidentiality of that information. Please also keep the RSVP office informed of any changes in phone number, mailing address, and email.
Reporting Volunteer Hours
Most volunteers report their hours on a monthly basis usually through the partner agency where they typically serve in more than one capacity. RSVP is especially interested in those who can volunteers within the areas of education, disaster preparedness/relief, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, veterans and military families, and Healthy Futures (food banks, independent living for seniors, and educating other seniors about Medicare benefits).
- Insurance: All RSVP Volunteers are covered by supplemental accident, public liability and excess-auto liability while they are serving in their communities. This is provided at no cost to the volunteers. In case of an accident while volunteering you should call the RSVP Office at (830) 379-0300. RSVP Staff will assist you with the claim process. The RSVP insurance coverage is secondary coverage, so it only pays claims not covered by primary insurers.
- Flexible Schedule: RSVP strives to maintain flexibility in scheduling volunteer assignments and no minimum number of service hours are required. However, volunteers must serve and report at least one hour every three months to be considered a member.
- Recognition: All volunteers receive a lapel pin and laminated name badge upon registering. RSVP provides one major recognition event annually for its volunteers and several other socials throughout the year depending on your area of service.
- Leadership Training: RSVP staff provide in-service training and support to those wanting more of a leadership role. Leaders are especially needed at schools participating in the America Reads Project. If you have an interest in advising or assisting the RSVP Advisory Council in your county, please contact Director Barbara Weyland. The council meets in January, May, and September and its functions include planning volunteer recognition events, evaluation, and future direction of the program.
- Change in Assignments: If you are interested in trying out new skills or advancing to more difficult tasks, staff will accept your request at any time. You may either accept an existing opportunity or ask RSVP to possible develop a new assignment that fits your interests.
- Quarterly Newsletter All RSVP volunteers receive a quarterly newsletter keeping them up to date on RSVP activities.
What Is An RSVP Partner Agency?
The organizations where volunteers serve are called partner agencies. Only nonprofit organizations or health care agencies may serve in this role. The partner agency must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that lists RSVP policies. The organization then agrees to offer volunteers appropriate and specific assignments on a regularly scheduled basis. RSVP volunteers do not replace paid staff at a partner agency and no one at a partner agency will ask volunteers to do anything their staff is unwilling to do.The partner agency staff is there to provide supervision, training, and in-service instruction to do the volunteer work effectively. In most cases, the RSVP partner agency assigns one person to serve as their volunteer coordinator.
Special Projects & Events
Realizing that many volunteers want to serve their community and still enjoy retirement, short-term assignments are available. These include mailings, office work, or special event assistance. Although they are short-term positions, they can still involve leadership service for a few months. One of the most flexible options is Senior Medicare Patrol. Those interested in this program will receive online training to help combat Medicare fraud and abuse as part of a team.
In the America Reads program, everyone wins. With the help of America Reads tutors, teachers are still able to provide one-on-one assistance to struggling students despite limited resources. Volunteer tutors become friends with their students and gain the satisfaction of watching their weekly progress. Most importantly, the students will grow socially, emotionally, and intellectually stronger benefitting the community as a whole and its literate population.
The volunteer coordinator for your county trains anyone interested in tutoring students in kindergarten through third grade who are not yet reading at their grade level and need special tutoring to improve their skills. Tutors work with students on a weekly basis and are so sought after they might even be able to choose their school(s), day(s), and time(s) for volunteering.
Volunteers don’t need teaching experience and will be provided training, materials, and may also observe experienced tutors in the beginning. All participants go through an initial background check and school districts will then do annual checks. Once a student reaches their appropriate reading level, they are moved out of the America Reads program.
If you believe in the mission of the RSVP of South Central Texas and have seen its positive impact on the community at large, please consider donating. Contact Director Barbara Weyland with any questions.
Special thanks to the United Way, the State of Texas, and local governments for their support.
- Community Education
- Summer Programs
- Alternative Teacher Certification Program
- Community Music Academy