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Meet the Givers: The Heart of Our Community

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In the uncertainty of this moment, it’s easy to focus on our fears and our innumerable challenges. So why not focus on something good? Like the 850 volunteers who call themselves members of RSVP of Westchester.

Men and women who became volunteers after spending a lifetime honing their talents only to wonder what next? Which is a question Wendy Armstrong often hears as director of RSVP of Westchester, a program of Volunteer New York! that has been around for almost 50 years. Wendy says, “RSVP is this club for those who’d rather spend their retirement years mentoring school children or teaching story-telling than to be doing nothing.” A volunteer club for adults over 55. “And ya, it’s free.”

Earlier this month RSVP of Westchester members had their annual volunteer recognition event taken right out from under them. Canceled 2 days before the luncheon as a response to COVID-19 regulations that limited the size of social gatherings. Do you think these 850 volunteers, who support 28 local nonprofits and volunteer over 70,000 hours a year, deserve the chance to be recognized? They do. They are the heart of our community.

They are hospital volunteers, Medicare “consultants,” and museum docents – spending their days giving smiles away to people who need them and sharing their own love of knowledge with those who seek it.

They volunteer to drive neighbors and strangers to appointments and book clubs, or just to go run their errands. They are energetic and young-at-heart seniors, who share their enthusiasm and their insights. They are caring individuals who take the time to comfort people who are alone.

They are volunteers who use their decades of experience to help foreign students learn English, train and prepare for jobs, and build lives they dreamed of, but never knew were within their reach. Our volunteers coordinate food drives for veterans and military families and work in its food pantry to make sure veterans’ homes have what they need to make life comfortable.

They give. And they give. And they give.

Ann Kachmar has given 11,797 hours of service for nearly 12 years.

Rita Doak has given 6,998 hours of service for the last 13.5 years.

Yvette Weiss has given 6,310 for 18 years.

Eleanor Herdina has given 5,314 hours of service these last 12 years.

Duke Searles has given 16,000 for 12 years.

They all give. Thank you to the givers of RSVP of Westchester

At Volunteer New York!, we understand these wonderful people, who do so much good every day. We have been connecting local volunteers like them for over 70 years. For adults age 55+ learn about joining RSVP at volunteernewyork.org/adults and find out what type of giver you are. The challenging days we’re in now will eventually pass. As long as there are volunteers in this world, the future will always be bright.

Support for RSVP of Westchester is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New York State Office for the Aging and the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services.


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This content is made possible by our partner. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the attitude, views, or opinions of the Westchester Magazine editorial staff.

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