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Volunteers Drivers

RSVP Volunteers Eugene and Inez Semingson are extremely modest about their roles as RSVP Volunteer Drivers for Senior Services of Trempealeau County, a partnering site of RSVP. As RSVP Volunteers Eugene and Inez are part of Senior Corps., one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over. “We can’t just sit here all day,” Eugene said. “We’ve got to get out of the house once in a while.” For Eugene, “getting out of the house” has resulted in tens of thousands of miles over the past 25 years. He provides transportation services in Trempealeau County which provides rides to medical appointments for anyone age 60 or over who lives in their own home and is unable to get to their appointments on their own. Anyone under the age of 60 with a disability may use the program with a doctor’s verification. Cheryl Padula, RSVP Volunteer Director, said “without volunteers like Eugene and Inez, services like this simply would not exist.” Using their own vehicles, volunteers pick up participants at their home and give them a ride to and from their appointment. The drivers are reimbursed for mileage, but they donate their time. Eugene, a veteran himself, said a majority of his passengers are veterans who need rides to the V.A. Medical Center in Tomah, which is 70 miles from the Semingson’s house in Strum. “We

Thanks to RSVP Volunteer Eugene Semingson and other volunteer drivers, hundreds of veterans have received rides to the VA Medical Center in Tomah.

talk about what we went through as veterans. They say they wouldn’t know what to do without the program.” Three years ago Eugene convinced his wife of 54 years to become a volunteer driver. “The day I retired, he said that he found another driver for the program,” Inez said. Since that time she has provided rides to Eau Claire, Whitehall, Arcadia, Chippewa Falls, Mondovi, La Crosse and many other places.

they know they’re making a difference. It’s a wonderful program that helps so many people.”Similar transportation programs assisted 264 people in Jackson County and hundreds of individuals in Buffalo County during 2012. RSVP is one of seventeen RSVP projects in Wisconsin. Senior Corps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, an agency that supports service and volunteering programs to improve lives, strengten communities, and foster civic engagement. RSVP Volunteers receive 1099 tax benefits, supplemental accidental & liability insurance and recognition.

Carol Anderson, Transportation Coordinator for Senior Services of Trempealeau County, said there are currently 25 volunteer drivers in the county, and in 2012 they drove a Interested in how you can become combined 170,991 miles. a volunteer driver? Contact our “That’s more than 5,000 one-way RSVP Office Volunteer Coordinator trips,” Anderson said. “They do it at or because they like to help people and Ph. 715-985-2391 ext 205 or ext 232.

Western Dairyland RSVP Newsletter | Fall 2013

Volunteer Spotlight Every Tuesday you will find RSVP Volunteer, Marion Averbeck, at the CFC School in Mrs. McCamley’s second grade classroom. When Marion enters the classroom many smiles brighten the faces of students. “Can I have you today?” and “Sit by Me!” are some of the requests she hears. Students look forward to Marion’s visits because of the help and praise she gives to each of them.

RSVP Volunteer Marion Averbeck reading with a second grade student.

Mrs. McCamley, her second grade class & RSVP Volunteer Marion Averbeck.

Marion is truly making a difference as a RSVP Volunteer. She helps the class with reading, hand writing, tracking reading reward minutes and other things Mrs. McCamley may request. “Each child is different and needs some kind of help, and it’s wonderful to see them improve,” Marion said. The children remember her for years after she volunteers in their classrooms. “The CFC School makes me feel very welcome,” and due to that staff support, Marion has been volunteering there for many years. Class sizes seem to continue to increase, and RSVP Volunteers, like Marion, help to provide more individualized attention to students. Marion mentions her greatest personal reward, as a RSVP Volunteer, as seeing the confidence level of the children grow as they become better readers. Marion is also justifiably proud of the Presidential Service Awards she has earned through RSVP. Marion said “I will do this as long as I can!” Marion’s impact is apparent throughout the CFC school. An Averbeck Family scholarship is awarded to a graduate each year. She also participates in the Veterans Day program by leading the students in the pledge of allegiance, and follows with a story she reads aloud to the school. Ask a staff member or student about Marion, and all seem to have only wonderful responses to share. The Western Dairyland RSVP Volunteer office wants to congratulate and thank Marion for her continued volunteer service. Like Marion, many dedicated RSVP Volunteers are enriching the lives of students. We extend our gratitude to all of our RSVP School Volunteers for their continued efforts. If you’re interested in making an impact with students in your local school, please contact the RSVP office.

RSVP Contact Information Western Dairyland EOC Inc. is a private, non-profit community action agency established in 1966 for the purpose of alleviating poverty-related conditions and assisting low-income families to achieve their economic self-reliance.

We welcome your comments Phone: 715-985-2391ext. 205 and suggestions about the Western Office hours: Monday through Friday Dairyland RSVP program. from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Western Dairyland EOC Inc. RSVP Program 23122 Whitehall Road Independence, WI 54747

Website: Email Addresses: or

Fall 2013 | Western Dairyland RSVP Newsletter

RSVP VOLUNTEER FOCUS! RSVP is building HEALTHY FUTURES as Our Primary Focus Area Our RSVP focus areas will be changing in the near future, and our office has been gearing up to strengthen in our chosen area. As our funding has changed over the years, so has our requirements of volunteer service. The location and the type of volunteer work have been revised by the Corporation of National & Community Services. Our volunteer reporting will now have to reflect the following focus areas located to the right. For many of you this only means that your area of service will grow in both number of RSVP Volunteers and number of people being helped by your service. The National Strategic Focus Areas have been developed by the Corporation of National and Community Service. RSVP is required to pick one of the focus areas as our primary focus. We have selected HEALTHY FUTURES as our primary focus moving forward for RSVP Volunteers of Trempealeau, Jackson, Buffalo and Eau Claire Counties. We are now required to involve at least 25% of our total number of volunteers in this area. Our food distribution efforts, along with our new caregiver project will allow us to make progress towards these goals. RSVP encourages volunteers to join in the continued growth of the following projects: Food Distribution, Volunteer Drivers, Weekend FOOD 4 KIDS, Crisis Energy Weatherization (simple home modifications for seniors and handicapped individuals such as installing new light bulbs and adding plastic to windows), and RSVP Volunteer Caregivers.

RSVP Volunteer Edna Mattison providing one on one reading enrichment for a CFC student.

National Strategic Focus Areas HEALTHY FUTURES

Aging in Place (RSVP Volunteer Caregivers), Obesity and Food (Our Food Distribution Sites), Access to Care


School Readiness & K-12 Success


Veterans and Military Families Served


At-Risk Eco-Systems


Housing, Employment, Financial Literacy


Provide assistance during & after disasters


(No more than 30% of our total number of volunteers)

RSVP Volunteer Opportunities Please take a moment to consider how and where your volunteer efforts can make the biggest impact. The following locations are in need of additional volunteers. Maybe a friend or neighbor would like to join you in volunteering. RSVP Volunteer Drivers- Trempealeau County volunteers are needed to transport individuals to medical appointments. Mileage reimbursement included. RSVP Volunteer Caregivers- Trempealeau & Buffalo Counties help others by providing neighborly companionship and assistance to elderly and disabled people in their own home. Flexible scheduling RSVP Advisory Council-Eau Claire, expand your outlook on volunteerism, become a RSVP council member. RSVP School Volunteer- Trempealeau, Buffalo, Jackson, Eau Claire Counties provide one-on-one assistance to students during the school day.

Western Dairyland RSVP Newsletter | Fall 2013

Welcome RSVP Volunteer Caregivers New project designed to help keep seniors living independently in their homes RSVP Volunteer Caregivers provide a gift that truly makes a difference in someone’s life, and that helps strengthen our communities. During the past six months RSVP and the United Volunteer Caregivers (UVC) have worked together to find a solution for seniors to continue receiving services in Trempealeau and Buffalo County. These services will help them to live independently in their homes. UVC ended operations in July of 2013 after thirteen years of service. In an effort to continue to provide these valuable services to seniors, RSVP has now assumed all responsibilities for this program. Many older adults and disabled people who want to remain independent, and at home are not able to do so simply because they cannot manage basic dayto-day tasks. Things like driving, grocery shopping, errands, household chores, and yard chores are beyond the scope of their physical capabilities. Loneliness is also a common problem, because Western Wisconsin is largely rural. As family members have a tendency to move away, many elderly people are isolated. Add to that the fact that many older and disabled people can no longer drive, and the problem is magnified. That is where RSVP Volunteer Caregivers is trying to make the difference. RSVP Volunteer Caregivers provide ‘neighborly

RSVP Volunteer Caregiver Barb Meinke (right), helping an area Senior put away groceries.

companionship’ and practical assistance to people in their own communities -- a simple concept, which is taking hold across the state, and across the country … neighbors, helping neighbors. By helping others, volunteers also benefit. RSVP Volunteer Caregivers report an enhanced quality of life because of their service. Service to others is a way to feel grounded and connected with your community. By giving of yourself, you are giving to yourself. All share the same basic idea.

Trained volunteers provide in-home “neighborly companionship” and practical assistance to elderly/physically challenged people to help them maintain their dignity and independence. HELP US HELP OTHERS! We are looking for men and women to join RSVP Volunteer Caregivers in both Buffalo and Trempealeau Counties. Check us out at

RSVP Volunteer Caregiver helping area senior enjoy an outing to run errands.

If you know of anyone who needs assistance please contact the RSVP Volunteers office at 715-985-2391 ext. 205 & 232, Monday through Friday 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m.

Fall 2013 | Western Dairyland RSVP Newsletter

A NEW PROJECT FOCUSING ON FOOD SECURITY RSVP Weekend FOOD 4 KIDS, is a volunteer-based, program devoted to providing pre-K and school-aged children with nutritious weekend meals. Although many children are being fed well during the school day, some students struggle with getting enough to eat on non-school days, such as weekends and holidays. RSVP is distributing weekend lunches in an effort to increase food security. Counselors and teachers across the United States have noted behaviors in children that indicate chronic hunger. These indicators include: rushing food lines, extreme hunger on Monday mornings, comments about not having enough food, saving/hoarding/stealing food to take home, fatigue and lethargy, inattentiveness at school, and poor school performance. For some of these children, the only nutritious meals they eat are the ones provided in school. RSVP Weekend FOOD 4 KIDS lunches will be sent home with students on Thursdays and can include food for all children in the home. Meals will vary each week, but a typical RSVP Weekend FOOD 4 KIDS meal bag will include easy-to-prepare meals, fruits, vegetables, string cheese, and trail mix or granola bars. RSVP Volunteers will deliver food to children in the Independence Schools including both Public and Parochial, along with Head Start, which serves children from Independence, Whitehall and Arcadia. The RSVP Weekend FOOD 4 KIDS will be available to all children, meaning that no income requirements will be considered. The families whose children receive food will only be asked to fill out an enrollment form. Enrollment forms will be available at all schools, the district office, and at the Western Dairyland RSVP office. If you know a child who would beneďŹ t from receiving supplemental food for non-school times, please encourage their caretaker to enroll in our RSVP Weekend FOOD 4 KIDS Program. RSVP FOOD 4 KIDS Volunteers Are Needed! This program would not be possible without the assistance of volunteers. Would you like to help make a difference in a child’s life? Volunteers are needed 1 to 2 hours per

week on Thursday mornings.Volunteers will assemble and distribute meal bags to schools. This project is made possible by the joined efforts of the Western Dairyland RSVP Volunteer Program, Independence Schools, S. S. Peter & Paul Church, and the Western Dairyland Head Start Program. Please help us support the area children with the gift of your time or a monetary donation. If your interested in learning more about how you can become involved with RSVP Weekend FOOD 4 KIDS please contact our office. We welcome and encourage you to volunteer. Contact the RSVP Volunteer Coordinator at or call 715-985-2391 ext. 205

RSVP VOLUNTEER NEEDED- FOOD 4 KIDS COORDINATOR We are looking for an ambitious

volunteer to coordinate the Weekend FOOD 4 KIDS program. Responsibilities include menu planning, purchasing & packaging of weekend meal bags.

Western Dairyland RSVP Newsletter | Fall 2013

Thank You! Eau Claire & Trempealeau Counties The 2013 Trempealeau County Recognition Event was held on July 18 at the Holy Family Catholic Parish Banquet Hall in Arcadia. More than 100 volunteers gathered for food and fun! It was a beautiful summer day to give back to our Trempealeau County volunteers. Thank you to the following businesses and organizations that made this event possible: Mathews Dental, Clippers, Ashley Furniture, Trempealeau Co. Times, Riverland Energy, Independence State Bank, Edison Funeral Home, Royal Credit Union, Arcadia Credit Union, TCC, Wozney-Killian Funeral Home,

Tulips & Treasures, Sweet Temptations, Femreite Gardens, Sullivan’s Supper Club, U-Care, and Trempealeau County Senior Services.

The 2013 Eau Claire County Recognition Event was held on August 7 at The Florian Gardens in Eau Claire. Nearly 100 volunteers gathered for good food, conversation, music, and laughs! Volunteers were entertained with a parade of hits during “Name That Tune”. Joan Sosalla played a familiar tune on the piano as the volunteers guessed the song titles. Sharon Ivers dropped hints about

the song and after a volunteer correctly guessed the tile, Dora Jean Blaha sang the song along with the group. Thank you to the following businesses and organizations that made this event possible: Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, Scheels All Sports, Walmart, The Eau Claire Children’s Theater, McDonalds, People’s Bank, Xcel Energy, Culvers, U-Care, and the Florian Gardens.

The 2013 Jackson County Recognition Event

was held on September 18 at the Skyline Golf Course Club House in Black River Falls. Volunteers,site

Fall 2013 | Western Dairyland RSVP Newsletter

Thank You! Jackson and Buffalo Counties supervisors, and RSVP staff enjoyed good food and good conversation on a beautiful fall day! Thank you, to the following businesses and organizations that made this event possible: Black River Falls Surplus, Badger Mining, Hair for All Seasons, Falls Players, Moes Hardware, Burnstads, L&M Cafe, Federation Coop & Agronomy, Taylor Lutheran Church, Cains Orchard, Sight & Sound, Scholze Ace Hardware, CO-OP Credit Union, Taylor Corner Store, Back Roads Supper Club, Sandberg Meats, Jackson County Bank, Walmart, Stones Throw Supper Club, Fanny Hill, Kwik Trip,

Ho-Chunk Casino, Mabel Tainter Theatre, McDonalds, Super 8 Hotels, Wood Sales & Service, Rural Mutual Insurance, Holiday Station Store, Dollar General, Candy’s Styling Salon, Falls Florist, Black River County Bank, Cobblestone Cottage, Upper Beaver Creek Church, Taylor General Store and Cafe, The Merchant, and U-Care.

The 2013 Buffalo County Recognition Event

was held on October 19 at the Waumandee House in Waumandee. A full banquet hall of over 130 volunteers enjoyed an afternoon of

food and camaraderie.Thank you to the following businesses and organizations that made this event possible: Buffalo County ADRC, Buffalo County Aging Unit, Waumandee House, and U-Care.

A Special Thank you! The

RSVP Volunteer Program would like to send a special thank you, to the Corporation for National & Community Service, U-Care, and Senior Services of Trempealeau and Buffalo County for helping us recognize all our wonderful volunteers.

RSVP Volunteer Office 23122 Whitehall Road PO Box 125 Independence, WI 54747


Western Dairyland’s RSVP program serves Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson and Trempealeau counties. Major funding is provided by the Corporation for National & Community Service.

RSVP Volunteer Marion Averbeck (right) and Mrs. McCamely’s second grader class at the CFC School.

Fall 2013 RSVP Newsletter  
Fall 2013 RSVP Newsletter