Janice Ayres: Volunteerism pays multiple dividends | NevadaAppeal.com

Janice Ayres: Volunteerism pays multiple dividends

Janice Ayres
For the Nevada Appeal

Matt Lauer of a popular TV morning show recently wrote: “The selflessness of people who give of themselves always makes me stop in my tracks and take a deep breath. … If you take a moment to reach out to someone in worse straits than you, you’ll be amazed how it will uplift you.”

Lauer is right.

There are so many great benefits from volunteering to help others. Doctors are proclaiming that people who volunteer enjoy better health, both mentally and physically, and tend to live longer than those who do not.

Check RSVP’s “Volunteer Connection” column in every Sunday’s Nevada Appeal and look for an opportunity to help someone needing your skills or just your friendship.

Besides the opportunities listed, RSVP assists 200 other community-based organizations with their volunteer needs, so there are always a lot of choices for potential volunteers.

Some volunteers work at two or three organizations so as to enjoy a variety of assignments. RSVP is very flexible and volunteers can change their assignment any time they choose.

RSVP carries five different insurances on all volunteers to protect them while on assignment. Depending on funds being available, RSVP can reimburse volunteers for their out-of-pocket expenses such as mileage and meals. Also depending on funding, recognition events and a Christmas party are held to let volunteers know how much they are appreciated.

You may have seen the ads in the Appeal advertising that the Carson City Nugget would be running a bingo game to help RSVP overcome some of the disastrous budget cuts that came from federal, state and local governments. There will be more advertised soon so watch for them and play and win money.

These volunteer programs were not very well funded to begin with, and when the present Congress took nearly $13 million from RSVP last year, it accounted for a loss of more than 20 percent of RSVP’s budget. Then comes the state with a cut of 24 percent. Then the defeat of the omnibus bill caused RSVP to lose all its main funding for transportation and help for seniors to remain at home and out of institutions. To learn more about RSVP and programs of assistance, visit our website at http://www.nevadaruralrsvp.org. I think you will be surprised.

RSVP is lucky in its Carson City program to have help from its city government, companies like the Carson Nugget, NV Energy, Carson City Toyota, Wells Fargo Bank, Gold Dust West, Michael Hohl Motors, Nevada Appeal, Adeles, Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Carson City Chamber of Commerce and many more. However, not all counties are as generous as Carson City, but I’m sure they do what they can.

Let’s hope Congress is listening to all the people marching on Wall Street and Washington, D.C., and protesting around the country. They are hurting and want our elected officials to take them seriously and work for economic recovery rather than make choices that are entirely self-centered and self-serving.

We have the holidays approaching. Let’s hope as many of our loved ones as possible are able to be at home to celebrate with family – especially our loved ones serving in other countries in the armed forces. I wish they could all come home … and never have to go back.

• Janice Ayres is president of Nevada Senior Corps Association.