Local woman spends time volunteering for young and old
By CAROL PRZYBYLSKI
Special to The Gazette
After spending some quality one-on-one time with Georgia Link, I came away thinking about her and her years as a volunteer with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). She became an advocate for those needing help early in her life when her daughter (now in her 50s) was born with “special needs.”
Back in the 1960s there was little in place to meet the needs of people born with special needs. As Georgia became an advocate for her daughter, I believe her need to help others was born. Through the years that need has transformed many times. Now as a senior living with her spouse in rural Portage County, Georgia focuses much of her energy on children.
She became a foster grandparent in 2008 working with first-graders. In 2010, she joined the “Learn for Life” program as a volunteer for third-graders. She continues to do both and loves every minute of it.
When asked why she volunteers, Georgia said, “I love to see children be happy.”
She has a special working relationship with the teacher she has helped throughout the years and feels that they make a good team.
According to the training manual for the “Learn for Life” program, third-graders are targeted for extra help in reading because “through third grade children are learning to read; after third grade children are reading to learn.”
As a parent, I can identify with this statement as both of my sons received extra help in the middle elementary grades and then went on to graduate with honors. I have no doubt that the extra attention Georgia is providing will have similar impact on the current third-graders she helps. And because of her background and friendship with a special education teacher in the same school, Georgia is often requested to assist with special needs children as well.
Besides her volunteering with the RSVP program, Georgia is also a very active volunteer at her church and helps out with others in her rural community that have needs (i.e. being a baby sitter to give parents respite, making sure an underserved neighbor across the county lines has help with meals, etc).
She also is on the Nutrition Advisory Board at Lincoln Center, which reviews menus and feedback from users of Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals Programs.
Recently, Georgia joined me on the RSVP Advisory Board where we review all programs that have an agreement with RSVP, assist with the revision of our by-laws and help in anyway the program needs, including recruitment which is the goal of my monthly articles.
Georgia would be the first to agree with me that the need is out there and there is so much anyone over 55 can do to help our neighbors via the RSVP program.
So, give us a call at 715-346-1401 if you’d like to join Georgia in serving the young (or older) of our county to be happier, healthier and more independent Portage County residents.
Editor’s note: Carol Przybylski is a RSVP Advisory Board member.