VOLUNTEER REPAIRS: Tulsa RSVP volunteers recently worked hard in New Orleans to help people impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Claudia Meiling, RSVP executive director and Jan Kelley, assistant director, were among 25 staff members of Oklahoma Senior Corps who joined others from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Louisiana for a four-day conference in New Orleans from June 16 through June 19. Re-New, Re-charge, Re-Build was the theme for this meeting that offered numerous sessions for staff of national service projects of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Attendees were invited to a pre-conference service project, which was coordinated by the local Re Building New Orleans organization. Volunteers scraped and prepared a home owned by an elderly couple, Katrina victims wanting to return so the husband, an Alzheimer’s patient, could be cared for by his wife in their home. Tours of neighborhoods still needing many repairs and renovations were conducted for participants, as well as presentations by local non-profits involved in the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans. Attendees were inspired by the interaction with local RSVP volunteers by focusing on the changing needs of volunteer management and national initiatives.
“To hear the inspirational stories from local leaders and volunteers showed us again the power of volunteerism to meet community needs,” says Meiling. “Despite the overwhelming devastation wrought by Katrina, volunteers from all over the country have spurred the people of New Orleans to rebuild. Communities continue to look for volunteer power to address many problems in their own communities and RSVP and other Seniors Corps programs work daily to harness that power to assist them.”
RSVP serves Tulsa and four surrounding counties to connect volunteers to their community needs. A United Way agency and grantee of the Corporations for National and Community Service since 1971, the agency offers services to local non-profits and individuals 55 and over who are interested in volunteering. Call 280-8656 or visit www.rsvptulsa.org to find out how to get involved.