Garfield County RSVP History

In 1973 a group of seniors in Garfield County saw the need for an organized group of senior volunteers and started High Country RSVP. These forward thinking long-time community advocates and policy makers began and operated RSVP from a small office in the basement of the Historic Hotel Colorado. Early projects were sewing for the nursing home, craft fairs and tag sales to raise money.

One of the first steps made by this group was the development of the Garfield County Council on Aging in 1974. That Council in turn focused their efforts on the creation of the Senior Transportation Program which initially was comprised of one small van and one driver to serve the whole of Garfield County. The Council on Aging raised their own funds to support program operations for both programs, hired a program director and driver. For four years they struggled to provide needed assistance for the seniors in their respective communities.

Senior Programs remained housed with the CMC Continuing Education Office at the Hotel Colorado, until 1981 when a new college building on Blake Avenue was dedicated to serve Glenwood Springs. Within this new building were the Offices of Senior Programs and the senior nutrition center with kitchen and storage facilities. Garage sales and craft fairs by the senior RSVP volunteers funded the purchase of the kitchen appliances and supplies needed for the nutrition program. Later Lucy Huntley gave CMC $46,000 to ensure that Senior Programs would continue to provide a place for positive interaction between seniors and youth here in Glenwood Springs at the Senior Center. Program expansion was also taking place in the west end of Garfield County with the addition of services through the Rifle and Parachute Senior Centers. As the program and its needs grew, the Garfield County Council on Aging members approached Colorado Mountain College, a local Junior College district, to ask for their support as a community service for the senior citizens and taxpayers of Garfield County. Support and sponsorship was granted by the CMC Board of Trustees in late 1978. The Council on Aging board set up to support the RSVP and Senior Programs remains in place today. The third foundational block of Senior Programs, the Senior Nutrition Program was started as a pilot project in Glenwood Springs in the basement of the Methodist Church in 1978. The program was offered twice a week and moved under the CMC Senior Program umbrella in late 1978 and gained additional sponsorship from Northwest Colorado Area Agency on Aging.

RSVP VOlunteeer Opportunities in Glenwood Springs Colorado

Continually increasing needs and growth expanded the Transportation Program to serve both the elderly and disabled of all ages. The RSVP program fielded new requests for volunteers and increased participation in local community non-profits with volunteer placements. The Senior Nutrition Program was also expanded to seven congregate meals sites throughout the towns and municipalities of Garfield County by 1999.

Senior Programs and RSVP serve the communities of Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute/Battlement Mesa. There are eight meal sites supported by the Traveler Transportation and the RSVP Program volunteers. The Traveler provides rides in the Glenwood Springs area, as well as to Carbondale and goes to Grand Junction for special trips. The Rifle Transportation Office provides transportation within Rifle and also to the communities of New Castle, Silt and Parachute. RSVP works with 325 senior volunteers at 60 different volunteer workstations and provides over 95,000 volunteer hours to Garfield County non-profits and volunteer organizations.
The RSVP will celebrate 39 years of full-time active service to the community in 2009. The Traveler will mark its 34th anniversary this fall, and the Senior Nutrition Program will complete its 29th year of service in 2008. The nutrition and transportation program have moved to the auspices of Garfield County. High Country RSVP remains under the Colorado Mountain College umbrella.

We strive to continue our combined mission of providing opportunities for independence, activity, good nutritional health, mobility support options, social interaction, educational opportunities and volunteer opportunities to the seniors of Garfield County in support of each other and the community in general.

We thank Paul and Ginny Lappala, Jim and Esther Kinnier, Otis and Lillie Jarrod, Owen and Margaret Boulton, and the other unnamed community volunteers who put their words and needs into action and created a wonderful program that had been growing and giving to the seniors of Garfield County for 39 years.


RSVP is the bridge between Seniors, their experiences and community needs!

RSVP Garfield County Volunteer Positions.

 

Esther Kinnier RSVP Honoree