With the season of giving upon us many organizations are looking for volunteers to help out at their events. The St. Cloud area has more than 180 community service partners looking for help this holiday season. The Retirement and Senior Volunteer Program or RSVP has over 1,000 active volunteers who are 55 or older and they are always looking for more helping hands.
“For me it never feels like I’m going to work. I’m going to learn, meet new people, and grow in the experience” says RSVP Volunteer Tom Stachowski.
Stachowski has been volunteering through RSVP for nearly 15 years. And he has helped with projects all over the St. Cloud area.
“I’ve worked with the salvation army, I’ve worked with catholic charities I’ve done volunteer ushering with the Rox and at the Paramount, and I do some work with the school district” says Stachowski
But his favorite volunteer work is being a pen pal to local students.
“I’ve been communicating with a couple of third graders here in St. Cloud. Just giving them a little perspective from a grandpas point of view.” Says Stachowski
And with the holidays right around the corner director Lisa Braun says there are even more volunteer opportunities on the way
“Some of our volunteers are Mr. and Mrs. Clause so they do appearances at different organizations, we do gift wrapping, and there are so many fundraisers that go on” says Braun
RSVP takes special care to make sure each volunteer gets to work at oppurtunites that they will enjoy and find fulfilling
“there are a lot of different things that people can do and we really invest time into getting to know what that volunteer might be interested in, so we can make a good match for them and give them a meaningful volunteer assignment.” says Braun
But for Stachowski he says he will keep volunteering year round
“the knowledge that we share and the knowledge that I gain and learn, you just can’t compare it, it’s incredible” says Stachowski, “I don’t do volunteer work to feel good, I do it because it’s important.”