Hurray for Volunteers! RSVP Observes April – National Volunteer Month

(Estherville, Iowa) April is National Volunteer Month and April 19 – 25, 2020, is National Volunteer Week. Volunteer Month is the perfect opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers who lend their time, talent, and support to causes about which they care in our community. Northwest Iowa Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) honors the special group of 55+ volunteers who bring their lifetime of experience and wisdom to support our community throughout the year.

RSVP is one of three national Senior Corps programs managed and grant funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.  Established in 1977 with Iowa Lakes Community College serving as the program’s local sponsor, Northwest Iowa RSVP marks 43 years of providing volunteers an opportunity to use their skills and experience in K-12 Education Success, Medical Transportation, Food Pantry Support and numerous Community Priorities in Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, and Palo Alto Counties.

Volunteers find their happy place in service! Nationally, over 200,000 RSVP volunteers are involved in active service to their communities. Over the past year, 354 Northwest Iowa RSVP volunteers served 29,690 hours in our communities.

In Clay County, 55 RSVP volunteers dedicated 4,686 hours volunteering. Volunteer projects this year included educating elementary students at Fairview, Johnson and Sacred Heart schools, providing medical transportation, supporting the Mobile Food Pantry, and helping at community-based activities and events, including at Many Hands Market and Iowa Lakes Community College.

In Dickinson County, 82 RSVP volunteers dedicated 4,149 hours in educating elementary students in Spirit Lake and Okoboji, providing medical transportation, and supporting Meals and Wheels. RSVP volunteers also helped with community-based activities and events in Dickinson county, including the Dickinson County Nature Center, Thee Garage Sale, Pearson Lakes Art Center, Lakeside Lab, YMCA of the Okoboji, Iowa Lakes Community College, CAASA, and blood drives.

In Emmet County, 62 RSVP volunteers dedicated 5,641 hours educating elementary students at Estherville Lincoln Central school, providing medical transportation, and supporting the Upper Des Moines Opportunity (UDMO) and Mobile food pantries. RSVP volunteers also helped at many community-based activities and events throughout Emmet County, including at the Historical Museum, Iowa Lakes Community College, Pearl Valley, Regional Wellness Center, Thrifty’s, UDMO, Estherville Public Library, Respite Angels, Valley Vue Care Center, Senior Center and Chamber of Commerce.

In Kossuth County, 117 RSVP volunteers dedicated 8,740 hours educating elementary students at Bryant, Lucia Wallace, and Seton schools, providing medical transportation and supporting the Kossuth County Food Pantry. RSVP volunteers also helped at many community-based activities and events, including Exceptional Treasures, the C.A.R.E. Team, Water’s Edge Nature Center, Iowa Lakes Community College, ISU Extension and Outreach, Kossuth Concert Series, Kossuth Regional Health Center, Algona Public Library, Historical Society, and the Chamber of Commerce.

In Palo Alto County, 40 RSVP volunteers dedicated 7,290 hours in educating students at West Elementary school and supporting Feed Our Kids backpack program. RSVP volunteers also helped with community-based activities and events in Palo Alto, including the Multipurpose Center, Lakeside Lutheran, VFW, Iowa Lakes Community College, and Chamber of Commerce.

Volunteer commitment to serving others contributes to the success and prosperity of our communities and, RSVP volunteers share freely of their time and talents.

In addition to helping others, RSVP volunteers are also helping themselves by living active, healthy lives through volunteering. A growing body of research points to mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteering, including lower mortality rates, increased strength and energy, decreased rates of depression, and fewer physical limitations.

During April, we pay tribute to volunteers and recognize everyone who takes time to help others. We applaud the spirit and generosity that drives volunteers to serve a cause greater than self. Acts of kindness help build a better and brighter future and remind us that we can all play a role in making our communities safer, healthier, and stronger.

For more information about Northwest Iowa RSVP opportunities in your area, please contact the RSVP Coordinator on the Iowa Lakes Community College campus nearest you:

  • Algona – Dawn Bernhard, 515.295-8522
  • Emmetsburg – Casee Ross, 712.852.5351
  • Estherville – Linda Anderson, 712.362.7929
  • Spencer – Sue Ahlers, 712.262.8858
  • Spirit Lake – DeNeitt VanDenBroeke, 712.336.6577

For More Information:

Emmet County RSVP Coordinator Linda Anderson at 712-362-7929 or