It’s been 50 years since the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Tulsa first opened its doors.
RSVP of Tulsa is a nonprofit that seeks to match volunteers ages 55 and older and their unique interests and talents with purposeful service in the community.
“Being able to connect people to a certain service where they flourish is the most rewarding part,” says GaryAnn Tomkalski, RSVP programs director. “Everybody has a history of what they love and what they did in their career and getting to really bond with those people and connect them to service that’s really meaningful to them is very rewarding.”
In 1971, RSVP of Tulsa was one of 11 pilot programs launched nationwide and quickly became the fastest-growing program of all. Volunteers at RSVP can partner with local organizations such as Tulsa International Airport, Tulsa Public Schools, museums, senior centers and local animal rescue foundations.
“Some of the larger volunteer stations, such as the hospitals, become their own little community,” says Joan Hutchings, RSVP director of volunteer services. “They watch out for each other and are a support system for one another.”
Tulsans looking to serve can find their local agency match by filling out the application at rsvptulsa.org.
“There are lots of different reasons that people come through our doors,”
Tomkalski says. “It’s amazing what can happen.”