COVID-19 changed the way AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers operate, especially since they are a vulnerable demographic to the virus. However, that did not stop them from finding safe, creative ways to help out. VANTAGE RSVP partners with The Society for Handicapped Citizens of Medina County, Inc. The Society provides services to individuals with disabilities and their families, with emphasis on helping individuals with disabilities maximize their full potential as members of the community.
VANTAGE RSVP currently has nine volunteers writing to community members with disabilities who are clients to our partner, The Society. The feedback we receive monthly is overwhelmingly positive and, honestly, enough to melt your heart. Mail time has become a number one focus at The Society. The volunteer coordinator at The Society even made a schedule of who gets to retrieve mail each afternoon. Many of the individuals in the pen pal program never received mail before, so to see their faces light up when they open their letters is absolutely heartwarming. Keeping communication with the outside world is important for the individuals they serve, especially during these unprecedented times. Just receiving a card or any form of mail is a reminder that even when outside interaction is not acquirable, there are still ways to develop meaningful relationships with others.
COVID-19 impacted The Society's ability to do things as they always had, forcing them to think outside the box and use resources never used before. VANTAGE RSVP volunteers let The Society know they have support and recognize that what they do has importance and value. I know volunteers can choose to give their time and efforts to anyone, but they chose us. "Your volunteers are angels in disguise," said a staff member at The Society.
We are truly proud to partner with The Society and make sure that all members of our community feel heard and loved!