Valparaiso, IN - In 2015, United Way of Porter County Retired Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) experienced a record breaking year in volunteers recruited, hours served and community members assisted.
Nearly 400 senior citizen volunteers served more than 30,732 hours and assisted more than 160,900 individuals throughout Northwest Indiana. The RSVP program is designed to keep senior citizens engaged in their community by offering Meals on Wheels, hospice care and mentoring volunteer opportunities.
“Although the program has only been part of the United Way family for four years, the impact it is having is undeniable,” said Kim Olesker, president and CEO of United Way of Porter County. “The program and the community benefit greatly from the immense knowledge and experience these volunteers possess.”
The RSVP program serves communities in Lake, LaPorte, Porter and Starke Counties. Recently, they held an annual volunteer recognition luncheon in each county. At the events, staff shared program news and recognized volunteers for their service with awards such as lifetime hours served, volunteer of the year, volunteer station of the year and most individuals served.
“I love volunteering. I know all too well when someone is in need you have to be there and chose to love them,” said Joanna Smith, award recipient for 2,500 hours of service at Secret’s Loving Care Adult Day Center. “I feel so blessed to work with these amazing individuals. It shows you that you are never too young, old, healthy or busy to volunteer.”
2016 award recipients are as follows:
- Doloras Dan and Pat DeNeal were recognized for 1,000 hours of service.
- Cora Smith, Joanna Smith, Ellen Etevenson and David Vinzani were recognized for 2,500 hours of service.
- Porter Township Bonner Center received the Most Volunteers award with 61 volunteers.
- Adam Benjamin V.A. Clinic received the Most Hours Served award with 3,716 hours.
- Porter Township Food Pantry was awarded the Most Individuals Served award by serving 1,552 NWI residence.
- 2016 Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Pamela Miller (Lake), Jean Kleinschmidt (LaPorte), Linda Brasher (Porter) and Roseanne VonBampus (Starke).
- 2016 Station Supervisor of the Year was awarded to Beth Szamatowicz with Campagna Academy (Lake), John Shebel with Sacred Heart Food Pantry (LaPorte) and Lisa Leach with Porter Township Bonner Center (Porter).
- 2016 United Way RSVP of NWI Director Award of Excellence was given to Bev Hmurovic of Whiting.
The United Way Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Northwest Indiana recruits, supports and provides volunteer opportunities and experiences for persons 55 years of age and older. RSVP offers these services to nonprofit agencies and organizations throughout the community allowing volunteers to utilize their talents and interests in fulfilling the needs of others. RSVP volunteers serve Lake, LaPorte, Porter and Starke Counties.
2016 winners pictured (left to right): Joanna Smith, David Vinzani and Cora Smith