Submitted by rfrazier on
Betty Ruth

This year, we celebrate AmeriCorps Seniors Retired & Senior Volunteer Program’s 50th Anniversary. Over the past five decades, millions of RSVP volunteers improved communities across the United States. The older adults serving in RSVP are dedicated to solving problems in their local communities. Our volunteers provide more than $1 billion worth of service to the nation each year, driven by motivation to give back, improve their communities and leave a legacy. 

RSVP is in a unique position where our volunteers can address the wide range of local needs of rural, urban, and city communities. We are the largest senior volunteer program in the nation and AmeriCorps’ largest rural program. From mentoring students to managing other volunteers, and providing disaster awareness, our volunteers are getting things done across the United States. Like these older Americans: 

  • In Athens, Ala., volunteers provide tax preparation for the elderly and low-income taxpayer. Serving in the focus area of economic opportunity with measurable impact.  

  • In Thames Valley, Conn., volunteers create veterans’ cafes, where they can feel safe, supported, and learn about benefits for which they are eligible for.  

  • In Paris, Texas, volunteers are also dedicated to serving veterans. By working together, they provide measurable results in Healthy Futures by serving 24 percent of all Lamar County residents.

Today RSVP is needed more than ever. Before COVID-19, reports stated that 10,000 “baby boomers” retired every day and will do so for the next 20 years. Since the pandemic, older adults are reported to show higher symptoms of depression and loneliness due to isolation. Which is why programs like RSVP are pivotal for older Americans. RSVP is the only national program that can place large numbers of older volunteers in high quality positions. For many years, research shows that volunteering improves the quality of life for older volunteers. It not only slows the cognitive decline, but also decreases loneliness, leaves them feeling physically healthier, and helps them feel a sense of fulfillment. 

Since 1971, RSVP has been proven to be a highly effective, cost-efficient and an impactful model of service for older adults. Together we are working hard to ensure that it remains that way for the next 50 years.  

So, here’s to happier future for our older Americans. Thank you and happy 50th anniversary, RSVP! 

Betty Ruth, President of NARSVPD and RSVP Director for 40 plus years in Athens, Alabama.