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The Bridge Builder RSVP of Alachua County Fall 2009 XXXIV Issue No. 8

As part of President Obama’s “United We Serve” summer initiative, the Alachua County Division of Senior Services (Foster Grandparent Program and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) participated with the United Way of North Central Florida in a book drive. For two weeks, books were dropped off at multiple sites around town. A BIG thanks to North Florida Regional Medical Center and Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge for being our official RSVP collection sites! The books that were collected through this effort will be distributed to children ages birth to six as well as daycare centers in Gainesville’s 32609 zip code area. On Saturday August 1, 2009, RSVP and FGP volunteers gathered at Books-AMillion from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm and read to children that stopped by during their shopping. RSVP volunteers also took part by sorting and counting all books that were graciously donated. A final count will be announced on September 11, 2009, the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

RSVP Volunteer since 2006 Mike O’Leary

Thank you to all that participated in this event and to each RSVP volunteer; your commitment and passion are in complete alignment with the goal of this initiative. For more information you can visit

“Economic recovery is as much about what you’re doing in your communities as what we’re doing in Washington – and it’s going to take all of us, working together. I’m calling on all Americans to make volunteering and community service part of your daily life and the life of this nation.” President Barack Obama

Debbie Shea

I hope you are all enjoying the Summer. Some of you have taken time off to relax and enjoy a vacation traveling. We all hope you’ve been enjoying your times of refreshment whether traveling or staying in the area. Thanks also to all of you who are still serving at your sites. You make a difference wherever you serve. This has been quite a busy summer. We’re excited that RSVP had the opportunity to participate in President Obama’s summer initiative, “United We Serve” (see article above and web link to read more about it.) Thanks to everyone who helped out. Now for some good news: 552 of you worked over 24,000 hours this past quarter. That is just great! Keep up the good work. We are in the last 2 months of our fiscal year. It will be very important for the volunteers who mail their time sheets into the office, to get them to us as early as you can. I know the time sheet says they are due Sept. 25th, but if at all possible, please send them in before that. You can put the time you are scheduled to work after the 25th on the time sheet. Any time sheets mailed later than Sept. 25th will get to us too late. Each one of your time sheets are important to us, so be sure to get them to us. Ruth will be picking them up from the stations early, as well. RSVP’s fiscal year ends September 30th. Have a wonderful rest of your Summer and enjoy our upcoming Fall (and football season)! We appreciate you! ☺

2009 Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser Update Thank you to everyone that took part in the pancake breakfast at Gator’s Dockside on Saturday June 13th. What a scrumptious meal to start the day. Whether you purchased a ticket, brought someone with you, or actually flipped the pancakes, you helped the Advisory Council raise $880 for the program. Thank you! Our Advisory Council did a great job selling tickets, creating and distributing flyers, making all arrangements at Gator’s Dockside, and seeing that the morning ran smoothly by seating guests, serving breakfast prepared by our very own members and volunteers, and clearing tables. What an outstanding job by all! The group is so on top of things that Saturday March 20, 2010 has already been secured for the 2010 Pancake Breakfast. Go ahead and mark your calendars for another successful event.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

Habitat for Humanity – Did you know that Habitat has volunteer opportunities other than the actual building of homes? RSVP volunteers can help out by repairing and selling household items, clothing, and furniture at the thrift store. Or, you can assist clients with completing forms for eligibility. And of course, if you insist on picking up the hammer and nails, you can help build new homes for low income families. Specialist of Birthday Recognition – RSVP is in search of energetic volunteers that have a few minutes each day to treat other volunteers to a birthday melody on their special day! Are you able to bring a smile to anyone’s face? Do you have an outstanding voice and a passion for singing? Then you just might be RSVP’s very own Specialist of Birthday Recognition. Get those vocal cords warmed up and give us a call today! Haven Hospice – Haven Hospice is looking for a few good volunteers. There are various opportunities available at the Attic and also at the ET York Care Center. Florida State Parks – As of October 1st, RSVP volunteers will be able to enjoy breathtaking experiences at five of Florida’s State Parks! In addition to Paynes Prairie and Dudley Farm, you will now be able to serve at Devil’s Millhopper, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and San Felasco Hammock. At Devil’s Millhopper and San Felasco Hammock, volunteers can greet visitors, conduct tours, help rangers remove exotic plants or maintain the natural beauty of the park. Volunteers assist in many ways at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. Some greet visitors and provide guided tours through the historic farm house. Other volunteers help to maintain the grounds, gardens, buildings, and artifacts. Some volunteers work with our citizen support group, the Friends of the M.K. Rawlings Farm, Inc., to create special events, conduct fund raising activities, manage special projects like creating oral histories or researching tenant farm life, coordinate grant requests and management, and helping to maintain good contacts within the community. Contact Ruth O’Conner @ 352.264.6752 if interested in any of the above opportunities!

Don’t’ forget! We are officially in Hurricane Season until November 30, 2009 •

Refer back to your Spring 2009 issue of the Bridge Builder for helpful tips to keep you and your loved ones safe during natural disaster.

Remember there is also an opportunity to help others during storms, hurricanes and other disaster situations. RSVP has a partnership with the United Way of Central Florida Disaster Preparedness & Response to help provide volunteers who can work on short notice for short periods of time. There are many types of jobs to help out with before, during, and after natural or other disasters. If this sounds like something YOU would like to do, please call us now to get signed up! Free professional training with certifications are not required, but may be available for you if you’re interested.

RSVP Website Update For those that currently complete electronic timesheets, you can now access the link (and directions if needed) from our website! Just visit and click on Electronic Timesheets on the far left. From there you can either select the link to immediately log in or review the directions; just make sure you choose the links under RSVP Volunteer and not RSVP Supervisor. And if you still have not explored the world of electronic timesheet submission then call Ruth today for your user ID and password. Also, remember that you can always view the current and previous issues of the Bridge Builder by choosing the appropriate issue from RSVP’s main page (look for the little box next to volunteer benefits).

Do we have your e-mail address yet? Our list is steadily growing but we would really like to have more addresses. If you have not provided your e-mail address yet and would like to receive community events, special offers, and this newsletter in electronic (COLOR) format then please call Samantha at 264-6751 or e-mail her at (please include your first and last name so she’ll know who you are).

Sage Hospitality is offering 50% off the published room rate -- or maybe a complimentary night (limited availability) at 53 of their hotels across the country. All you have to do is volunteer 8 hours of your time and then contact our office to receive your “official” letter verifying the time volunteered. Unfortunately there is only one participating hotel in Florida; the Hilton Garden Inn in Orlando at SeaWorld International Center. So, if you would like to make arrangements to visit, contact Nour Asfari at (407)903-2107 and mention the Give a Day, Get a Night rate. But remember, you MUST have the letter from us when you check in! Find more information by visiting If you do not have internet access and would like information about participating hotels in other states, call Samantha at 264-6751. Thank you RSVP volunteer June Brady for passing this information along to us!

Please review the following Terms & Conditions: • • • • • • • • • • • •

This offer is based on availability. Complimentary rooms must be reserved 48 hours prior to arrival. Advance reservation is required. No advance deposit necessary and individual hotel’s standard cancellation policies apply. The Give a Day – Get a Night discount is taken off the normal, published room rate Applicable taxes apply. Blackout dates apply and there are a limited number of complimentary rooms available at each hotel. Rooms will be booked on a “first come first served” basis. Guests will be asked at check in to share a letter from a registered 501(c)3 non-profit verifying the time volunteered, 8 hours must be completed. Volunteer hours are to be unpaid hours. Volunteer hours must be completed between July 1, 2009 and December 18, 2009. The Give a Day – Get a Night program runs from July 1, 2009 to December 20, 2009 If a guest is staying for multiple nights, the discount is applied to first night of stay only. There is only one complimentary night per individual per hotel through-out the duration of the promotion.

Classes for AARP Driver Safety Program in Gainesville Sept 10th-11th, 9:00-1:00 (The Atrium – FREE lunch on Sept 11th) Sept 21st-22nd, 9:00-1:00 (Trinity United Methodist, Room 211) Oct 1st-2nd, 9:00-1:00 (The Atrium – FREE lunch on Oct 2nd) Oct 20th-21st, 12:00-4:00 (Trinity United Methodist – Student Center) *For information or to register, please contact Lynda LeGrow at (352) 333-3036.

Welcome New Volunteers Carrol Benefiel Devon Delk Linda Difranco Grace Duffey Raymond Duffey Ruth Eckhoff Mary Fivecoat Norman Froscher

Thank You “Friends of RSVP”

Ann Hall Claire Lederman Darlene Miller Jackie Smith Sadie Smith Ethel Thompson Cynthia Watts-Thomas

Contributors Arlene Alexander Phyllis Darnell Marcia Davidoff Ron & Karen Mahan

We really want to hear from you! Please send any of the following items for use in our upcoming newsletters. • Articles • Stories • Jokes • Recipes • Photos You may e-mail, fax, mail, or drop the items off by the office. Look for your submissions in the next newsletter!

Get to know your fellow RSVP Volunteers! Starting with our Winter 2009 issue, we will spotlight one volunteer in each newsletter. Staff will select folks at random and (given your permission) will share a bit about you with the rest of our RSVP community. Look for the first Volunteer Spotlight in next quarter’s Bridge Builder!

A special THANK YOU to the businesses who sponsored this year’s awards! HAVEN HOSPICE, NORTH FLORIDA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, AND SHANDS HEALTHCARE

You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing! Take heed and pass these along to people who need a laugh. We thought you would enjoy this....times are tough right now...for all of we need something to make the day a happy place. A West Virginia State Trooper was patrolling State RT 10 in Logan County, when he notices a car puttering along at 10 mph. He thinks to himself, “This driver is as dangerous as a speeder!” So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over. Approaching the car, he notices that there are five elderly ladies – two in the front seat and three in the back, wide-eyed and white as ghosts. The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I don’t understand. I was going the exact posted speed limit. What seems to be the problem?” The trooper, trying to contain a chuckle, explains to her that 10 was the route number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error. But before you go, Ma’am, I have to ask, is everyone in this car OK? These women seem awfully shaken.” “Oh, they’ll be alright in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 119.”

The Value of Volunteering…. “If you want happiness… For an hour – take a nap, For a day – go fishing, For a month – get married, For a year – inherit a fortune, For a lifetime – help someone else.” -Chinese Proverb An elderly woman died last month. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, 'They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead.'

The Bridge Builder Retired and Senior Volunteer Program 218 SE 24th Street Gainesville, FL 32641

RSVP Advisory Council CHAIR Linda Gardner SECRETARY Pam Fitzgerald


Pat Bellis Anthony Clarizio Cindy Flowers Vidya Hogan Myrna Hustad Pat Knight Sadie McBroom Lee Pinkoson HONORARY MEMBER Charles Gatton THANK YOU TO RENAISSANCE PRINTING FOR THEIR VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION

RSVP STAFF Program Coordinator: Debbie Shea Program Specialist: Ruth O’Conner Senior Staff Assistant: Samantha Crawford

The Bridge Builder Published by the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program RSVP is part of the Corporation for National Service and is sponsored locally by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners within the Department of Community Support Services


FRIENDS OF RSVP If you would like to become a Friend of RSVP, send your donation to: 218 SE 24th Street Gainesville, FL 32641 Please make checks payable to the Advisory Council for RSVP and enclose the form below:

I wish to become a Friend of RSVP as indicated: Individual Family Contributor Patron Benefactor Other

$5 $15 $25 $50 $100+ $____

Name: _____________________________ Address: ___________________________

City: _________________Zip__________

RSVP Fall 2009 Newsletter  
RSVP Fall 2009 Newsletter  

Bridge Building Newsletter for RSVP Fall 2009