PORT HENRY The Retired Senior Volunteer Program is honoring its own during National Volunteer Week April 15-21. Our society has been enriched and fortified over the years through the talents and energy of countless men and women who have offered their time unselfishly as volunteers, said Patsy McCaughin, RSVP director. Every community in America faces the continuing challenge of providing its citizens with necessary services and opportunities, and to find the most cost-effective means of using resources at hand. One way to meet this challenge is through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. RSVP exists to promote and develop meaningful and rewarding volunteer opportunities for persons 55 years of age and over. To share ones self, ones time and whatever talent one has with others is what RSVP is all about. people helping people. Older Americans are the fastest growing group in the United States and is a readily available resource, McCaughin said. As a rich community resource, which has spent a lifetime developing skills, refining talents, the demand for senior volunteers is increasing daily., she said. At retirement age seniors can choose their own outlets to share their knowledge, their skills, their special abilities, and love. RSVP serves as a kind of volunteer employment agency linking volunteers to community-service assignments based upon their individual interest and needs. RSVP volunteers will attest that they are simply giving back to the society that was good to them, McCaughin said. As National Volunteer Week approaches RSVP would like to thank and salute its corps of volunteers who give of themselves to enrich the lives of people of all ages through the gift of giving to those in need. Based in Port Henry, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is administered by The Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal sponsoring agency, and locally by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. In 2006, 461 volunteers logged 64,352 hours of service at 94 non-profit and public agencies and organization within Essex County. If these volunteers were paid minimum wage their contribution to Essex County is over $460,000, McCaughin said. There are no factors concerning income, education, or experience involved in the enrollment process, only the desire and willingness to serve others, she said. Volunteers are offered some benefits, such as meal and mileage reimbursement, excess accident and liability insurance, recognition, a member of a national organization, quarterly newsletters, and most important self satisfaction. Opportunities are as diverse as the interest and abilities of its volunteers. They serve in nursing homes, hospitals, adult homes, schools, libraries, museums, hospice, literacy, historical societies, and nutrition centers, provide respite, deliver hot meals to the homebound, provide transportation, provide reach out services and more. Where there is a need there is a volunteer, McCaughin said. Volunteering is done out of love and concern for others. The faces of the aging people in Essex County reflect the compassion, skills, and experience that have taken them a lifetime to obtain. The challenges and activities of RSVP promote a longer, happier and more meaningful life for our seniors in their retirement years. RSVP encourages and supports the self-esteem, integrity, and productivity of senior citizens, she said.