Transition expected to save money and open additional opportunities for seniors
COUNTY PRESS RELEASE
Rockland County and Rockland Community College are announcing the transfer of services of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program or RSVP from the College to the County’s Office for the Aging. The program has been under the auspices of RCC since 1973 when it received approval to operate a Retired & Senior Volunteer Program, the first community college in the country to sponsor the program. The County will assume full management of the services beginning January 1, 2020.
The mission of RSVP is to help address community needs by recruiting volunteers 55 or older to lend their time and expertise in community service to nonprofit agencies and proprietary nursing homes, and in so doing to provide them with meaningful and ongoing volunteer opportunities.
While RCC has overseen the program for nearly five decades, the decision was made to move management to the County Office for the Aging (OFA), an ideal fit alongside the numerous programs for seniors that operate through the OFA. The transition will also reduce duplication of services thereby saving taxpayer dollars. Funding for RSVP has been provided through the County along with the NYS Office for the Aging and the Corporation for National Community Service.
“We are pleased to have provided this program to the seniors of Rockland for so many years, and are confident that the services will continue to expand with the Rockland County Office for the Aging.” stated Penny Jennings, D.L.P., Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives for RCC. She added, “Gerri Zabusky has done an amazing job with the program. We now look forward to working closely with Tina Cardoza-Izquierdo, Director of the Office for the Aging, to ensure a smooth transition through the end of the year.”
Volunteers in RSVP tutor children and adults, deliver meals to the home bound, teach English to immigrants, provide independent living services and serve their communities in many ways.
RSVP volunteers choose how, where and how often they want to serve, with commitments ranging from a few hours to 40 hours per week. RSVP of Rockland currently has more than 400 members actively assisting nonprofit agencies and county government, providing services to more than 100,000 residents. In 2018, RSVP of Rockland volunteers logged almost 60,000 hours. With a dollar value of $29.19 per hour for their work, the federal government calculates their contributions have a monetary value of $1,751,400.
“We are working closely with RCC to ensure a seamless transition with no interruption in services or programming to the people who rely on RSVP. There is a natural synergy to incorporating this program into OFA with more opportunities for exposure to both potential volunteers and those seeking services. Gerri Zabusky has built an extremely successful program which we aim to build upon while leveraging existing relationships to improve services,” said OFA Director Tina Cardoza-Izquierdo.
Other programs currently under the umbrella of the Office for the Aging include:
Adult Day Services: Provide services outside of the home for qualified seniors.
CHORE: Minor home repairs for older adults 60+ and/or disabled. Sponsored through BRiDGES.
Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP): Provides case management and non-medical in-home services to income-eligible seniors 60 and over.
Health Insurance Information & Counseling Assistance Program (HIICAP): Provides information, education and counseling about Medicare and other health insurances to all Medicare beneficiaries and their loved ones.
Home Delivered Meal Program: Deliver meals to homebound seniors.
“Moving Forward” Newspaper: Provides people with information on current issues relating to seniors.
NY Connects: Preliminary telephone evaluation of long-term care needs. Referrals to appropriate service programs ranging from delivery of meals to nursing home placements.
Senior Centers: Provide engagement and connectivity to seniors and serve as focal point for nutrition services.
Senior Employment (SCSEP): Provides training and employment opportunities for low-income people age 55 and older.
Telephone Reassurance Program: A volunteer will place a phone call, on a regularly scheduled basis, to seniors who would like someone to touch base with them to have a friendly conversation.
Weatherization: Helps income-eligible homeowners conserve, improve and reduce energy usage while saving money.
There are more than 65,000 people in Rockland County over the age of 60. The Office for the Aging assists older residents and their families to get information about programs available to them. The OFA Provides a variety of programs either through their office or through partners. The programs are designed to maintain maximum independence in the home and provide employment and volunteer activities. Advocacy by and for the elderly is their prime activity. For more information call 845-364-2110.