September 30, 2014

RSVP – Lead With Experience

By Dave Layton
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Eastern Iowa and Western Illnois

The Developing Relationship between AARP and RSVP

I don’t want to make light of the sacred institution of
marriage by comparing it to the developing relationship between AARP and RSVP, but an AARP/RSVP relationship does seems like a perfect union. Our two organizations share similar interests and utilize much the same resources in
carrying out missions. A similarity that we in RSVP can relate to is that 80 percent of AARP’s statewide effort is done by volunteers. In comparison, RSVP relies on volunteers for about 90 percent of its endeavors. The Illinois AARP has a statewide reach through its Springfield office and a small but enthusiastic local chapter that meets at 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at St. James Lutheran Church in Rock Island. I attended the September meeting and had a chance to chat with its very capable president Jean Miletich, who has also been an RSVP volunteer for 24 years. Other active AARP/RSVP members include Karen Freda and Suzanne Manhard. As an AARP member who recently joined RSVP, Karen has been an especially enthusiastic supporter of RSVP and has encouraged others to join. I would also encourage any RSVP members to join AARP.

Unlike RSVP, AARP can engage in lobbying work, insuring that positions on issues important to all of us are brought before our legislative bodies. AARP does not rely entirely on grants and allocations of public sector money as RSVP does, but generates operating funds through sales of services such as insurance. It then uses these receipts to fund their nonprofit activities. David Vinkler, an Illinois AARP Associate Director of Advocacy and Outreach has the motto “What we do, we do for all” on the back of his business card. I read that to mean that what they do is done not just for the benefit of AARP members but for all in any age group. The “all” could apply to everyone in our society. With good fortune, the younger in our community will be seniors one day and may need programs that would not be in place then if not for the efforts of AARP today. Also, as every volunteer I have interviewed has said, “I volunteer to help myself; it makes me feel good and improves my outlook on life.” So if I may, I’ll take a bit of liberty with what I am sure is a copyrighted phrase and say on behalf of all volunteers “What I do, I do for all–including myself.”

By the time you read this, the first joint AARP/RSVP Event may already be over, but you should have heard of it from other sources. It’s a free presentation on frauds, scams and protecting your identity at the Moline Public Library from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on October 6. Speakers from the Rock Island Sheriff’s Office, Adult Protective Services and banking and legal sectors will be there. There will also be free document shredding at the same time. The shredding will be done by ARC of the Quad Cities, an organization that employs persons with disabilities. ARC has been certified by the National Association for Information Destruction, so you can be assured of safe shredding and disposal of your sensitive documents.

One other joint AARP/RSVP event is in the planning stages. It’s a program at Black Hawk College on Information Technology for seniors. For those of you who are of my generation, that translates to “Help-me-to-understand-how-to-use-a-computer-or-tablet-to-e-mail-or-chat-with-my-grandchildren-or-get-on-Facebook-without-embarrassing-myself.” We’ll let you know when it will be given, and I’ll see you there.

If you are already computer savvy, you can read about AARP efforts to prevent fraud at If you read this before October 6, you can register for the free Moline Library event at

Filed Under: Retirement

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