RSVP expands scope to include younger volunteers

By Bryan Richardson

After 40 years as a 55-and-older volunteer organization, RSVP of the Flint Hills, as it was previously known, is no more.

Now called the Flint Hills Volunteer Center, the organization is reaching down to the younger generation as an 11-and-older volunteer organization.

Lori Bishop, the center’s executive director, said discussions about the change began last year.

She said the center began receiving more requests for volunteer work from a younger segment of the community such as high school and college students, soldiers and stay-at-home parents.

“We didn’t want to turn people away who want to help our community, particularly the youth,” Bishop said.

With this new mission comes a new program, Youth Volunteer Corps of Manhattan, which provides opportunities for youth ages 11-18 to participate in volunteer projects on evenings and weekends.

“We want to build leadership skills,” Bishop said.

She said there are 30 youth volunteer corps in the nation. Bishop said the recruitment of volunteers for the program will start in September.

She said the next programs for the volunteer center will likely involve ways an entire family can volunteer together and special events. Bishop said the rebranding process will be a big task, for which the center is seeking college interns to help with the effort to find all of the organizations needing volunteers.

“It will be a long process for us to identify all of our partners,” she said.

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