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Volunteers Needed to Make Lifelong Difference in Individuals’ Lives

Diploma or dropout?

For many students who struggle with reading, their future could go either route. Multiple studies indicate that students who can’t read proficiently are four times more likely than skilled readers to drop out of school. Students who are proficient in reading struggle less in other subjects, increasing their chances of graduation.

One key to helping these students master reading and related literacy skills is to provide extra, one-on-one attention early in their academic lives. The Retired Senior Volunteer Program of North Central Iowa does just that. RSVP trains volunteers to help struggling readers become successful readers.

RSVP offers literacy programs focused on improving students’ reading skills, a letter-writing program aimed at building writing skills and other programs – all of which foster intergenerational relationships between volunteers and students – in schools throughout North Central Iowa. In addition, RSVP recruits volunteers to provide support and meet a variety of community needs.

Come explore how you can make a difference in your community! Interested community members 55 and older may attend any of the following RSVP open houses:

Hancock County
Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Place: Garner Education Center, 325 West 8th St., Garner

Winnebago County
Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Place: Titonka Savings Bank, 101 U.S. Highway 69, Forest City

Cerro Gordo County
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Place: First Citizens Bank Heritage Room, 2601 4th St. SW, Mason City

Worth County
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2017
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Place: Olson Community Room, 906 1st Ave. S, Northwood
Volunteer opportunities with RSVP:

Reading Buddies is an elementary school literacy program that helps students develop their reading skills. Volunteers generally work one-on-one with students once a week to help them improve basic literacy skills.

Reading Coaches is a middle school literacy and mentoring program that addresses the needs of readers by providing individual attention. Reading Coaches work one-on-one with students to improve their reading comprehension and fluency, and to increase their enjoyment of reading.

Pen Pals is a letter-writing program that fosters intergenerational relationships. Volunteers are paired with 4th- or 5th-grade students and exchange letters once a month. Pen Pals do not have to live in the same community as the student. The program is ideal for seniors who aren’t able to serve at a school and for “snowbirds” who are gone in the winter.

Breakfast Buddies is an elementary school mentoring program that provides a positive and nurturing environment at the school-sponsored breakfast so students are prepared for their day and enter the classroom ready to learn.

Mason City Walking School Bus is an elementary school program sponsored by the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. Volunteers lead groups of children as they walk to school along designated routes during the fall and spring.

Lake Mills School Crossing Guard volunteers assist students crossing the street at crosswalks surrounding school property. The primary goal of this program is student safety. The program runs before and after school every day of the year.

Cerro Gordo County Disaster Response volunteers answer non-emergency calls made to the Phone Bank or assist the Volunteer Reception Center process spontaneous volunteer workers during a community emergency.

Volunteer Ombudsmen advocate for residents’ rights by making unannounced visits to nursing and residential care facilities throughout north Iowa. They visit with residents and their families about their quality of care and seek to resolve any concerns.

International Friends match new international students at NIACC with a friend from the community to provide a perspective on American culture that an international student may not experience on campus.

IRIS volunteers are the voices that read news and information for blind and print-handicapped listeners at the KCMR radio station in Mason City to keep them connected to their communities.

Anyone interested in volunteering but unable to attend an open house should call Linda Willeke at the RSVP office at (888) 466-4222 ext. 4255, (641) 422-4255, or email willelin@niacc.edu.

For information on RSVP of North Central Iowa, visit www.niacc.edu/community-and-continuing-education/continuing-education/rsvp or contact 1-888-466-4222 ext. 4256, (641) 422-4256 or rsvp@niacc.edu. RSVP of North Central Iowa serves the counties of Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago and Worth responding to priority community needs by providing meaningful, purposeful volunteer opportunities for people ages 55 and over. RSVP is sponsored by North Iowa Area Community College and is partly funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, State of Iowa, United Way of North Central Iowa and local county governments.

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