RSVP in the Great Falls Tribune


See Original Article at the Great Falls Tribune

No math required to help elementary students

When Gary Peterson moved from Miles City, he left behind friends and neighbors he’s known for roughly 70 years to live in Great Falls — a community where he knew no one outside his daughter and grandchildren.

But within a few days of volunteering at Lincoln Elementary, he made friends with children who knew him well enough to point out that he had no eyebrows, a wiggly chin and a grandpa nose.

“I enjoy working with kids – they will tell you exactly what they think,” Peterson said with a laugh. “The kids always say thank you. It means a lot.”

Thanks to the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Peterson spends two hours every school day at Lincoln, playing math games with kindergarteners, working with students one-on-one and then tutoring 6th grade students on math.

RSVP has volunteer opportunities with 22 teachers in six elementary schools — Whitter, Longfellow, Valley View, Loy, Lincoln and Roosevelt – and is working to create opportunities at the remaining elementary schools.

Most volunteer shifts are 45 minutes to an hour and fall throughout the school day.

Program Manager Lynette Scriver-Colburn said RSVP hopes to recruit at least a dozen volunteers in the coming month. With a new semester starting, now is a good opportunity for people who are interested in volunteering in our schools, without committing to a full school year.

Scriver-Colburn said that volunteers don’t need specific skills or specialty education. Far more important is an interest in working with kids and the ability to commit time, whether it’s once a week or every day.

Teachers give Peterson guidance both on the material he’s working students on and how to teach it to them.

“I’ve always liked numbers,” Peterson said. “Even though the way of teaching it is different, the numbers are the same. Teachers always give me enough direction.”

For more information or to volunteer contact Retired & Senior Program volunteer coordinator Jessica Briggs at 727-3400.

Information about this and other volunteer opportunities is available at United Way of Cascade County’s free website, www.volunteergreatfalls.org.

Between the website and managing RSVP, United Way is now where all agencies that need volunteers can go and people of all ages who are interested in volunteering can look for opportunities.

Volunteers of all ages can search volunteer opportunities on the www.volunteergreatfalls.org website by their interests and availability and they can also call 727-3400 to learn about opportunities and organizations that need help.

Cascade County nonprofits are encouraged to register and post their volunteer opportunities on the site, whether they are a one-time event or an ongoing opportunity.

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