I find volunteering the most humbling and rewarding when it connects the young and the old.
On May 23, the RSVP (Retired and Seniors Volunteer Program) wrapped up a third pen-pal year with a lunch meeting — for the first time — with their sixth grade Pearl Ridge Elementary pen pals. I was unprepared for the chicken-skin experience. I guess we had no idea how close we became during our school year’s expansive weekly letter writing exchange. Our RSVP pen-pal program started during the pandemic. The focus was to mitigate feelings of loneliness. You might be surprised to know: loneliness currently affects people of all ages. The US Attorney General recently stated, “Loneliness increases mental and physical issues, including dementia by 30%.” I feel having a pen pal helped us RSVP volunteers and sixth graders equally. There were hugs, some tears and heartfelt alohas as we met for the first time and then said our farewells.
If you’re 55 or older and would like to be a pen pal, please join us at RSVP. It is an incredibly fulfilling opportunity.
City & County of Honolulu Elderly Affairs Division
925 Dillingham Blvd., Ste. 200, Honolulu, HI 96817
808-768-7700 | elderlyaffairs.com
RSVP Program (an AmeriCorps Seniors program)
808-768-7778 | elderlyaffairs.com/site/460/rsvp.aspx