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Published by RSVP of North Central Iowa, 2019-10-23 15:36:48

RSVP Fall 2019 Newsletter

Fall 2019 Newsletter

The Volunteer Voice
A Newsletter for Members & Friends of RSVP of North Central Iowa
Volume 9  Issue 1  Fall 2019

Vicki Ries, Director of Student emotion regulation, test anxiety, hunger, and sub-

Services at Newman Catholic, stance abuse or violence in the home.

trained RSVP Volunteers There has been a shift in the educational mindset:
this past summer on the topic of:  Students are diverse with individual needs
Positive Relationships and  See the whole picture/whole child—academic,
Student Learning. Vicki assured cultural, social, emotional medical
volunteers that all they need to  Live and react in the present
work with children is the 4Cs:  Be flexible
Compassion, Civility, Courage, and Calmness.  Be open to what you don’t know

Vicki cautioned volunteers from falling into the Steps you can take as a volunteer:
mindset of, “When I was a kid…” Mostly because,  Connect with students—show them you care
children live in a very different world than what  Refrain from judgement
each of us grew up in.  Have a plan… but be flexible

For example, in the 1970s, families were larger,  “Listen” to their behavior

both parents lived at home, and Behavior is communication. If a
child cannot tell you what is
kindergarten was half-day. The What we sometimes see as wrong, they will show you
80s included the “War on Drugs” through behavior. We don’t
campaign, new computer technol- a failure to BEHAVE know what kids are going through
and we don’t need to know. The
ogies emerged, and there was a properly child’s appearance and/or family
life does not define who they are
surge of video games and pop is actually a failure to and what they are capable of.
culture. In the 90s we had Game
Boys, wide-spread home comput- COMMUNICATE

ers, and the Gulf War. properly.

Life in the 2000s includes cell phones, social media, Trauma and special needs affect every child differently.

after-school clubs, smaller families, divorced par- Every child is unique and every day is different.

ents, blended families, and the bombing of the What can you do as a volunteer? Provide a positive
World Trade Center, the worst terrorist attack on learning experience. When you greet your student,
US soil. Standardized testing in schools has become “take the temperature” of their mood. Be con-
the priority. K-12 schools have been forced to sistent yet flexible. Enjoy your time together.
implement active shooter policies and procedures,

including drills. Vicki holds a BA in education

Gone are the days of play-based education. Kinder- and an MA in Instructional

garten students are now expected to know the al- Leadership. She is a board

phabet before starting school and should learn to Certified Behavior Analyst

read before first grade. Today’s children live in a wide with 23 years of teaching

variety of home settings and struggle with issues like experience.

Page 2 The Volunteer Voice

Tips & Tidbits RSVP recently established a new partnership
with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of
Welcome new volunteers! Dubuque to recruit volunteers to serve with
We have 43 new RSVP their Jail & Prison Ministry program.
Volunteers since July 1st.
We are happy to have you!! The Jail & Prison Ministry program is a com-
munity re-entry program for ex-offenders recently released from jail
ONE OF THE or prison. Ex-offenders can be some of the most vulnerable mem-
GREATEST GIFTS bers of our society. Many struggle with finding housing, employ-
YOU CAN GIVE IS ment, and a support system. They may also experience social and
psychological challenges from incarceration.
Ex-offenders who participate in the Jail &
#VOLUNTEER Prison Ministry program are a third less
likely to re-offend, compared to the State
Keep in mind... of Iowa recidivism rates. The goal is to
help provide positive re-entry into family and community life. The
It’s never too late program helps individuals establish positive relationships, experience
healthy social activities, and connect with community resources to
to recruit volunteers. Not find work, secure affordable housing, and meet basic needs.
all volunteer opportuni-
ties are associated with Volunteers will serve as mentors and support group members to
the school year, which support ex-offenders in North Central Iowa. Volunteers must pass a
means some volunteers background check and complete training. Once connected with an
can start serving at any individual, volunteers will spend a minimum of 1-2 hours per week
time. So, if you know meeting with and supporting their mentee. For more information,
someone who would be a contact the RSVP office at (641) 422-4256 or [email protected]
great volunteer, tell them
about RSVP or give us Do you love RSVP? Would you enjoy promoting RSVP volunteer
their contact information.
If you recruit someone opportunities? How about becoming an RSVP Ambassador!
who serves for three
months, you will receive a RSVP Ambassadors will utilize their skills, knowledge, and connec-
$10 Casey gift card! tions to help spread the word about RSVP opportunities within
their communities to build capacity and awareness of the pro-
grams. An ambassador might share community promotional events
and opportunities with the RSVP Volunteer Coordinator, distribute
RSVP marketing materials throughout the community, and attend
events (service club meetings, wellness fairs, radio interviews, etc.)
with RSVP staff and co-present when appropriate.

If you want to be an RSVP Ambassador, contact Theresa Price,
Volunteer Coordinator at (641) 422-4254 or [email protected]



Page 3

Sometimes we hear from volunteers,  A lot of my struggling readers had little to no
home support. My RSVP volunteer served as
“I don’t know if I’m really making a another positive influence and listening ear to
difference.” Well, we’re here to tell you, help support literacy with these kids who needed
yes you are! You have a positive impact it most.
on the students you work with every time
you show up or send a letter. This is evident  A few students who could really use an extra
in our end-of-year surveys from students, “boost” get some quality one-on-one (or two)
teachers, and volunteers, as well as the student data reading time. It gives students a chance to prac-
we collect. tice their oral reading and get positive feedback
and encouragement. It is all about
First, the data. Based on student reading assessment
scores, 85% of elementary school students served in  I was just reading through my end of the year
the Reading Buddy program improved their academic survey where my students write down 10 things
performance in literacy. Likewise, 84% of the middle they want me to know about them as second
school students in the Reading Coach program also graders. One boy wrote… "I like RSVP person! I
improved. loved it!”

Teachers see the true benefits of RSVP Volunteers  My volunteers are great with reading instruction
every day. Here are some of their observations: but they are even better with making genuine
and deep connections with my students that
 I love to have RSVP readers come into my room last all year and into the next years at Harding!
and read with my students. They have always Undeniably important with young children!
been a positive role model for my students and
have helped with their reading. My students  All of my students improved on their reading
always look forward to them coming to spend fluency!
time with them.

 The greatest benefit was the social interaction  When the volunteers are gone for some reason,

and positive support as students would read. the kids want to know why they are not here. I

They knew just how proud the volunteers were remind the students that our RSVP Buddies

of them and were always excited to tell me have lives as well, and that things come up. The

what the volunteers did with them. It was kids just smiled and said, "I know, but I really

exciting to watch their love of reading grow! wanted to share my book with her." This is from

 The volunteers give each of the kids their “own a student that started the year hating to read.
special someone” that they look forward to That is what I call “a success.”

working with each week—positive relationships We couldn’t have said it better than one of our
long-time volunteers in his end-of-year survey:
across generations.

 The wonderful volunteers not only helped the This is the best thing I do. Helping young
students one-on-one with reading, but these readers not only helps them as students,
students need adults to help them feel special. but will assure their success as adults.
These wonderful people did that! This translates to improving our com-
munities in the long run. WIN-WIN.
 Students are able to get more exposure to
fluent reading in a no-anxiety setting.

500 College Drive | Mason City, IA 50401
Phone: (641) 422-4256 | (888) 466-4222 ext. 4256
Email: [email protected] | Web:
Director: Molly Anderegg
Volunteer Coordinator: Theresa Price
Administrative Assistant: Mary Ellen Smith

RSVP is sponsored by:
North Iowa Area Community College,

and partially funded by:

Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Mitchell,
Winnebago, and Worth counties

Be the person you needed when you were younger.
–Author Unknown

RSVP welcomes two new members to its The Advisory Council meets four times per year on
Advisory Council. Julienne Friday, from the NIACC campus and serves as a sounding
Forest City, is a retired sociology and psy- board for RSVP staff regarding program develop
chology professor from Waldorf University ment and assessment. Members include:
where she taught for 45 years. Julienne
has also worked at Ellsworth Community Dean Swenson (Chair), Buffalo Center
College, with the Appalachia Service Project, and with Karen Dole (Vice Chair), Mason City
mentally challenged adults. Her hobbies include building Kimberly Booth, Hampton
renaissance-era musical instruments, woodworking, Julienne Friday, Forest City
cabinet-making, and her own laser technology business, Larry Hill, Thompson
Women’s Sawing Circle. Carol Johnson, Mason City
Velda LaCoste, Osage
Velda LaCoste, from Osage, is an avid vol- Colleen Last, Mason City
unteer in and outside of RSVP. With RSVP, Bob Perry, Northwood
she serves as a Reading Buddy, Pen Pal, Carol Peterson, Garner
and IRIS reader as well as with the Preemie Marilyn Pinta, Manly
Project, Bridges Mentoring, Days for Girls, Shirley Rasche, Garner
Knitting & Peace, and the history committee Elaine Weiland, Britt
at her church. Velda is a retired special education and Stephen Wolfe, Northwood
ESL teacher of 30 years. She and her husband, John,
have been married for 50 years. Together they have There are open seats on the
two children, five grandchildren, and one foster child. council representing Franklin
and Mitchell County.

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