It's not a competition. There are plenty of volunteers and positions available to go around, but it can be a little bit confusing, especially since both are based right around the corner from each other in Claremont. Community Senior Services sponsors one group and the Visiting Nurses Association Hospice and Palliative Care of Southern California oversees the other.
"I really don't know how two RSVP groups formed so close to each other, but we are very active and have wonderful people who help wherever they can," said Maggie Plunkett, who has been helping the VNA RSVP group for the past six years.
She is retired from The Claremont Colleges, is an Avon representative and volunteers with RSVP at the Learning Ally in Upland (formerly called Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic). In her capacity with Avon, she recently conducted a fall showcase fundraiser that garnered about $1,100 for RSVP programs.
"This is not about me, but that is something we just did. It's a big fundraiser and we need it because the RSVP does so much in the community," said Plunkett, who became familiar with the organization years ago through Pat Henny, who retired as the RSVP director.
"Volunteerism is in my blood and if I can do something to help, I will. I saw how much fun these seniors were having with RSVP and the good work it does really appealed to me so when I retired, this is the first place I thought about.
Plunkett is far from being alone in her appreciation of RSVP. The West Valley chapter of the RSVP, the one overseen by VNA, recently honored more than 550 others who see the value of volunteerism working in their communities. The honorees received certificates of appreciation and commemorative pins from director Audrey McConville for their more than 170,000 hours of service for the past year.
All honorees' work was honored but Pat Rees received special attention. The Upland woman is the 2012 Volunteer of the Year. She helps with the American Cancer Society Thrift Store in Upland, in the RSVP office and serves as a RSVP Advisory Council member.
Eight individuals received Presidential Lifetime Service Awards from the White House. They are Joy Adkins, Sheryll Bush, Belva Green, Henry Horta, Ruby Mattingly, Evelyn Richmond, Margaret Robinson and Wilma Steeve.
Those donating more than 500 hours of service received the Presidential Gold Awards. They are Karen Allbee, Dorthy Alzen, Dwight Anderson, Virginia Ash, Ramona Brady, Delores Bump, Susan Burman, Curtiss Burnett, Sue Carpenter, Sharon Coenraad, Dolores Connelly, Elaine Creel, Betty Cullen, David Darrow, Marcia Dennis, Lucilee Diradoorian, William Dye, Theodore Eadie, Flo Elliott, Millie Endicott, Manuel Espinola, Don Ford, Roger Fowler, Susan Gentry, Michael Gephart, Jenny Gutierez, Rudolph Guzman, Walter Hawthorne, Loretta Higginbotham, Marcella Jarvinen, Tom Larson, Jane Haines Lee and Sharon Lepore. Others were Sheila Lewandowski, Maria Lieberman, Marie Linder, Gabriela Lipp, Pat Longuevan, Janette Lyons, Kathryn Magden, Celia Marin, Mary McGriff, Alexander Mendoza, Ruthie Morris, Lodeen Murphy, Paula Murquia, Raquel Navarro, Patricia Petty, Fayetta Pollitt, Linda Prizzi, Pat Rees, Patricia Rooney, Sharon Royce, Steven Scalf, Darlene Schneider, Travee Sether, Phyllis Smith, Thelma Smith, Wanda Steury, Rosita Perez Stevens, Patti Strauch, Lorraine Tenuta, Pam Tuttle, Nancy Upton, Ruth Van Scoy, Alma Visser, Arlene Weaver and Cynthia Weber.
Anniversaries were noted. Virginia Valladolid has volunteered for 30 years, Viola Buysman and Iris Logan for 20 years; and Leona Kobold for 15 years. Thirty-one volunteers have served for 10 years. They are Barbara Anderson, Richard Anderson, Chris Barnes, Donald Bartee, Jane Campbell, Lynn Christie, Dick Coleman, Mattie Coleman, Dee Copeland, William "Lloyd" Corbin, Patricia Costa, Norm Gadegaard, Lorraine Glaab, Frances Grove, Rose Holmes, Herbert Kerns, Jacqueline Leo, Marisa Lewis, Donna Maddox, Uvadina Mendez, Ann Moreno, Verna Murphy, Charles Papenfus, Geraldine Papenfus, Hilda Katz Phillips, Lillie Ritcherson, Gwen Rodman, Donna Ruehlen, Isabell Stoffers, Freda Thorne and Ermal Wallgren.
And 40 were recognized for their five years of volunteering. They are Louise Adams, Lydia Alcaraz, Karen Allbee, Raymond Breaux, Janice Buttress, Sharron Carver-Weeks, Mernetta Castro, George Cerisara, Shirley Cheney, Dolores Connelly, Janice Daily, Don Dupree, Peggy Falconer, Helen Fisher, Jean Fouse, Chiyoko Fujimoto, Lupe Garcia, Carol Gardner, Annamarie Joan Geist, Ilene Golding, Mary "Terri" Harris, Lorrie Huckabay, Letty Ingram, Priscilla Ivory, Guido Jacob, Elmer Judkins, Sheila Keeling, Penny Kline Kathryn Magden, Celia Marin, Jean Masingale, Luis Olagues, Carol Oldenkamp, Dominic Polimeni, Rhonda Quinn, Theresa Schofer, Betty Singleterry, Emil Trimillos, Lou Ventura, Nancy Villeneuve and Rueben Weeks.
RSVP volunteers help at more than 60 different sites including schools, senior centers, hospitals and museums. For more information about the program, call 909-482-0355.