Volunteer list already in works by organization other than city council

2013-02-20T05:30:00Z Volunteer list already in works by organization other than city councilAaron Orlowski Journal staff Rapid City Journal
February 20, 2013 5:30 am  • 

City Council Member Chad Lewis wanted to establish a city-wide list of volunteers, but it turns out two organizations already are either working on a list or have one, Lewis said at Tuesday's city council meeting.

One list, by the Black Hills Area Retired Senior Volunteer Program, is posted on the city of Rapid City's website and comprises more than 500 residents who are 55 and older. But those volunteers may not be able to accomplish more physically straining tasks, Lewis said.

Other types of volunteers, such as those who can lift heavy objects or do more physically rigorous work, are still needed, Lewis said. Those people would likely be younger and may feel less inclined to join a group such as RSVP.

"A lot of the younger people don't like to join organizations anymore. It's not their thing. They can just register then get an email that pops up," Lewis said, adding that oftentimes these young people are required by their employers to volunteer.

Volunteers could help at concerts, sporting events and other events hosted by nonprofit agencies.

But the Leadership Rapid City class of 2011 is already working on such a list, according to Lewis. Leadership Rapid City is a program sponsored by the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce in which trainees take a 12 week course to build leadership skills and learn more about Rapid City.

Lewis suggested the organizations could combine their lists, but understood if there was resistance to doing so. He said he had been discussing compiling a list with the organizations.

"I just want to make sure there's a way the people of our city can have a database where they can register," Lewis said.

The city council acknowledged discussion of such a list at Tuesday's meeting.

Contact Aaron Orlowski at 484-7069 or aaron.orlowski@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. Cinder
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    Cinder - February 20, 2013 11:55 am
    I think that Councilman Lewis is misguided in his belief that we need a new volunteer organization and in his understanding of what RSVP+ does in our community. The “ + “ in its name represents that this program is open to more than just senior citizens in our community. This change came about over two years ago when RSVP leadership along with input from city leaders, recognized a growing number of individuals with a heart for volunteer service, who were not senior citizens. With the help of a generous grant from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation the traditional RSVP program expanded to become RSVP+, open to volunteers 15 years of age and older. This change has been well received by the community and is growing in strength every day. I know this, first hand because I am not a Senior Citizen, but was introduced to this new program and have found it to be a great source for me to find volunteer opportunities.

    With only a little bit of research I found that the City of Rapid City has a long standing relationship with RSVP going back over 30 years. In fact, the City supports the program as a federal grant sponsor and also financially supports the program because of the huge impact it has to the Rapid City community. The Rapid City RSVP + program is the largest in the state with well over 500 volunteers working in the community, routinely contributing over 130,000 volunteer hours a year. At 2080 hours per year for a full-time employee, that is the equivalent of a business having over 60 full-time employees doing volunteer work in our community. WOW!!

    I strongly urge Councilman Lewis, the city council and the Mayor to seek ways to help RSVP+ with their efforts to expand as they include volunteers of all ages. Rapid City has long had a great asset for our community in the RSVP program. Let’s work to make what we have stronger instead of trying to re-invent the wheel.
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