“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver,” said American author and poet Maya Angelou.
There are a group of ladies here in Shelby County that have had their souls liberated for many years, the ladies of the RSVP. No I don’t mean the “repondez s’il vous plait” or please respond. I mean the ladies of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
RSVP is America’s largest volunteer network for people age 55 and over. Join RSVP and you join nearly 500,000 volunteers across the country who are tackling tough issues in their communities.
RSVP offers a full range of volunteer opportunities with thousands of local and national organizations. With RSVP, you choose how and where you want to serve. You choose the amount of time you want to give. And you choose whether you want to draw on your skills or develop new ones. In short, you find the opportunity that’s right for you. The RSVP is ran through CEFS.
The RSVP ladies in Shelby County get together every Monday from 1 - 3 p.m. at the Shelby County Senior Center at Forest Park. They create beautiful quilts for the Head Start Program children, crib quilts for the Pregnancy Resource Center, and bazaar items for the Senior Center to sell during the holidays.
These young ladies range in age from 80 to 92 and they are excellent seamstresses and create wonderful quilts.
Jen Sporleder is the coordinator for the RSVP in Shelby County.
“This program gives folks over age 55 an opportunity to showcase their talents and these ladies sew quilts all year long,” said Sporleder.
Diana Litteral is the director of the Pregnancy Resource Center and she appreciates what the RSVP ladies do.
“Our clients really appreciate what these ladies do as well,” said Litteral. “They (clients) recognize that there are a bunch of grandmas out there that love and care for them and their babies and are willing to give their time to cover their babies.”
Litteral said these crib quilts are used in the Pregnancy Resource Center “Hope Program”.
The Hope Program is their “Earn to Learn Program” which helps the young mothers parent through education and that allows the girls to become better parents and in doing so they also earn certain items.
“Actually the blankets we give as graduation gifts so they earn that when they complete the program,” continued Litteral.
One of the members Dorothy Townsend is legally blind and yet is always there on Mondays to help out.
“I can crochet and knit and so I am a sewing machine,” said Townsend.
The ladies rely on donated materials.
“We would like to thank all the area people who donated the materials and yarn and we really appreciate it,” said Alice Kayser.
People may donate materials or yarn by dropping it off at the Shelby County Senior Center located in Forest Park. The ladies have a small storage closet at the Senior Center.
One member of the group Betty Miller said this program is one of those wonderful win/win deals.
“The children of Head Start really enjoy the quilts we make for them, and we really enjoy making the quilts,” said Miller.