Smile Politely

The Chambana Volunteer Sept 8-15

This month’s Spotlight on a Volunteer is dedicated to senior volunteers. Senior Volunteer week is approaching, (September 19-23), so I interviewed a senior volunteer. Jean Curtis volunteers at the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) office twice a week and she is a huge help and a joy to work with!

Spotlight on a Volunteer: Jean Curtis, 95, Savoy, Illinois

When did you start volunteering with RSVP?

I joined RSVP in November 1977 in Naples, Florida and volunteered at the North Naples Hospital in the volunteer office and also at the Collier County Courthouse in the bookkeeping department and the Clerk’s Office. I did this for nine years, (and enjoyed it). Great group of people to work with and for.

Why did you decide to start volunteering?

I decided to start volunteering as I thought it was a great way to get acquainted.

I thought it was quite interesting: When I moved to Savoy, IL my son took me to the Busey Bank to open an account. The person we talked with was most helpful and during our conversation I mentioned I was with RSVP in Florida. Karen Bodnar, the lady who opened my account, mentioned that we have RSVP here and gave us Jo Hopkins’ [the Volunteer Coordinators’] name and number to contact. My son called and made an appointment and he brought me to RSVP. My application completed, I was told there was an opening at the Courthouse in Urbana. I started there but there was not enough to keep me busy, and when I mentioned it to my son, he called Jo Hopkins, and the next thing I knew I was at RSVP as a Team Coordinator.

I have been there for approximately 6 years and have been very happy. A great group of people to work with, and everyone is very congenial. The purpose of this story was that Jo left Savoy and moved to Atlanta, GA to be close to her daughter, and the person who took her place as Site & Volunteer Coordinator was Karen Bodnar.  Small world!

  • (**Writer’s note: Karen is currently now Director for RSVP.)

Please describe your role as a volunteer for RSVP.

My role as Team Coordinator involves many assignments:

  1. Process new member papers
  2. Respond to Station requests for Team support
  3. Contact volunteers to fulfill station requests for tasks
  4. Prepare new member letters
  5. Notify Staff about upcoming Advisory Council meetings
  6. Stamp Hour Sheets with Program Director’s signature before filing
  7. Add New Member information to each of the Volunteer Books
  8. Update General Assembly and Smooth Runner lists to New Members and Terminations

Do you have any advice for seniors interested in volunteering?

I would suggest for all seniors to get involved in volunteering. It is a wonderful way to keep your mind occupied and meet new people.

If you are a volunteer or know a volunteer who would like to be featured in the next article, then please email me.  Thanks!  –MER

Some ways for Senior Citizens to get involved with Volunteerism:

  • Food for Seniors- Seniors in this program meet to distribute bags of groceries for other low-income seniors, 7 AM-10 AM on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday each month. Volunteer drivers, backup drivers and sackers are needed. Call Robbie Edwards at 359-6500 or email [email protected].
  • Senior Pen Pal Program- In this program, seniors exchange letters with local 4th grade students throughout the course of the school year. For more information please contact Jean Smith at (217) 356-1972 or [email protected].
  • Generations of Hope-Generations of Hope is a community of intergenerational living where older adults provide support to parents and youth who, in turn, become instrumental in providing the well-being of elders as they age. The award-winning breaks barriers across generational lines and develops a strong community support system. For more information and how to volunteer, go to
  • SeniorCorps-SeniorCorps is a nationalprogram very similar to the AmeriCorps structure, but catered to senior citizens, with several specific ways to serve. For more information, go to


Did you know?-September 11 is a National Day of Service? Non-profit organizations are encouraged to register volunteer opportunities on this day. For information on the Day of Service and to search local opportunities, go to or

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