Texas Lutheran University has received a Senior Corps RSVP grant of $278,254 from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service.
This award will support around 780 Senior Corps RSVP volunteers serving across Guadalupe, Comal, Wilson, and Hays Counties.
Today, Senior Corps engages approximately 200,000 Americans at more than 20,000 locations across the nation through its Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion, and RSVP programs. The award will be dispersed over a three-year time period beginning on April 1, 2020.
Established in 1971, RSVP engages Americans age 55 and older in citizen service that addresses the nation’s most-pressing challenges—everything from fighting the opioid epidemic, reducing crime and reviving cities, connecting veterans to jobs and benefits, preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs, ensuring seniors age independently and with dignity, and helping Americans rebuild their lives following a disaster.
These funds were awarded as part of a Senior Corps grant competition to increase the impact of national service in new or specific geographic areas. Through TLU, Senior Corps volunteers can continue programs like America Reads.
“Through RSVP of South Central Texas, America Reads allows seniors to be paired with public school students in kindergarten through third grade providing one-on-one tutoring that improves literacy skills and instills a love of learning within those children,” TLU’s RSVP of South Central Texas Director Barbara Weyland said. “We have 150 volunteers in over 25 schools currently working with more than 300 children.”
Weyland says in addition to America Reads, TLU’s RSVP program has 74 partner agencies in their service area including hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, thrift stores, food banks, museums, theatres, libraries, Habitat For Humanity locations, churches, social service organizations, and tourist bureaus.
While serving, Senior Corps volunteers also improve their own lives, staying active and healthy through service. A growing body of research points to mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteering, including lower mortality rates, increased strength and energy, decreased rates of depression, and fewer physical limitations.
According to a CNCS study, Senior Corps volunteers serving with the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs report feeling significantly less depressed and isolated, along with higher health scores.
"The RSVP program empowers older individuals to make a difference in their community through service," said Morgan Klaser, TLU Center For Servant Leadership director, said. "The service they provide creates lasting impacts in our surrounding community, making the existence of RSVP so important to the lives of many. TLU is proud to partner with RSVP to support our shared commitment to community."
Interested in volunteering? Email Director Barbara Weyland or call 830-379-0300.
Senior Corps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which engages millions of Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service each year through its Senior Corps and AmeriCorps programs and leads volunteer and civic engagement initiatives for the nation. For more information, visit nationalservice.gov.