When Mayflower RSVP Senior Corps volunteers commit to doing something, they do it big.
Back in the spring, a small group of volunteers tossed around a few ideas about how they could best participate in the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. As members of the Senior Corps, Mayflower RSVP volunteers work within a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the organization Congress has charged with supporting service days nationwide. They sought a project that would honor those in service to our country and provide a meaningful, volunteer experience.
When they learned of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund 9/11 Service Project, where volunteers assemble more than 1,000 care packages for active duty service men and women and veterans on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, RSVP volunteers knew they had found their calling – a letter writing campaign for the troops.
“Mayflower RSVP volunteers’ goals were three-fold – participate in a nationwide service event, positively impact soldiers in active duty from our local community, and engage veterans in the project,” said Mayflower RSVP Executive Director and COO Darcy Lee. “We kicked the letter writing project off on July 15 at our offices here in Plymouth when more than a dozen volunteers, most of them veterans, led the charge in the letter writing. And the word spread!”
Throughout the summer, letter writing events were held with Mayflower RSVP’s partner agencies. Volunteers in Plymouth included members of the Veterans at the Pinehills, and residents of Emeritus Assisted Living Center at Plymouth Beach, Stafford Hill Assisted Living, and Newfield House. Creative writing groups took this on as summer project, and included from the Creative Writing Group at the Village at Proprietor’s Green, the Greater Plymouth County Ladies Who Write and the Halifax Council on Aging Creative Writing Group. Members of the Kingston Council on Aging participated as well.
“Volunteers from all over Plymouth County would stop in the office to write a few letters, and take stationary home with them to complete more. For some it became a multi-generational activity. Grandchildren of volunteers colored and drew pictures to brighten the soldiers’ day,” said Lee. “It truly was a meaningful project for our Senior Corps volunteers. Some of them even asked the soldiers to become pen pals.”
The letter writing campaign exceeded all expectations. Sixty-five Mayflower RSVP volunteers hand-wrote 220 letters that will be included in the care packages for Massachusetts soldiers overseas.
Lee added, “We are proud we can support our troops and the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund as they support our active military personnel overseas and their families, while also honoring the fallen heroes of September 11.”
In 2009, Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) with supporting this effort across the country. CNCS provides tools and resources for organizations and individuals to become engaged in service activities, including grants to organizations to support volunteer projects.
Mayflower RSVP, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program for Plymouth County, engages 400 volunteers with 60 organizations throughout Plymouth County to improve the quality of life for citizens in need.
For more information about becoming a Mayflower RSVP Volunteer or a partner agency, please call 508-746-7787 or email email@example.com.