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In Los Altos, Kathryn Tomaino and Steve Klesczewski washed windows for a 74-year-old Los Altos homeowner.

 

The Palo Alto senior cheerfully greeted the RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) volunteers when they arrived at her home. She was eager and grateful to receive their help. Looking at her you wouldn’t know that she needed help, but the 81-year-old widow has undergone a liver transplant, a mastectomy, a hip replacement and now has a bad back. The Palo Alto senior homeowner was grateful the RSVP volunteers were able to vacuum her house, wash her windows and change a light bulb. She said her husband died five years ago and she has no family. She is friends with her neighbor, but the neighbor is 92 years old.

“The neighborhood has changed,” she sighed. “I feel so helpless. I guess I should move, but it’s hard because this is home. I’ve lived here for 50 years.”

A 98-year-old Saratoga senior feels the same way. Also a widow with no family, she was very happy that the RSVP volunteers were able to her change her light bulbs, turn over her mattress and replace her smoke detector battery.

“It’s wonderful you can do this for me. I just can’t do some of these tasks anymore,” she remarked.

In Los Altos, a 74-year-old senior homeowner conveyed her gratitude as RSVP volunteers proceeded to wash her outside windows. “I love this! Thank you. It is so wonderful to have this help,” she said.

RSVP volunteers also feel rewarded when they are able to help seniors in their communities. “We volunteer because we respect the needs of our parents. We want to pay it forward and do it for them,” said longtime RSVP volunteers Kevin Barrett and SILVAR President Denise Welsh.

The program has inspired new members to volunteer, as well. First-time RSVP volunteers Anna-Liza Estoesta and Sara Hernandez were eager to help. “We want to help the community,” they said.

Virginia Supnet said, “I would like to promote the event to my office to inspire other agents.”

This was Trevor Loveless’ third year as a Palo Alto District RSVP volunteer. He enjoys helping the seniors. “It’s good for the community. I was born and raised here. It’s good to give back,” said Loveless.

SILVAR’s REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) is on its 16th year. This year 107 volunteers from SILVAR assisted 50 senior households in the Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos/Mountain View, Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga communities. VIEW PHOTOS

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SILVAR President David Tonna and Diane Chandler hand a senior homeowner a complimentary RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) bag, which includes batteries, face mask to protect them from harsh chemicals, and a vial of life, so they can have their complete medical information ready in their home for emergency personnel to reference during an emergency.

SILVAR President David Tonna and Diane Chandler hand a senior homeowner a complimentary RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) bag, which includes batteries, face mask to protect them from harsh chemicals, and a vial of life, so they can have their complete medical information ready in their home for emergency personnel to reference during an emergency.

SILVAR members washed hundreds of windows, trimmed a multitude of bushes, replaced numerous smoke detectors and furnace filters and did other household tasks in over 120 senior homes this week as part of the association’s annual REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP).

Every year in May, SILVAR members visit the homes of seniors who are physically and financially challenged. Members help the elderly with simple household tasks, like replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, washing windows, turning over mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries and light yard work.

RSVP is a community outreach project launched by SILVAR in 2001 to assist seniors and the homebound in communities within the Association’s five districts of Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos/Mountain View, Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga. The program has expanded on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, with volunteers from neighboring REALTOR® associations helping seniors in their respective communities.

While the SILVAR RSVP volunteers trimmed bushes and weeded her yard, a Los Altos senior homeowner laughingly described herself as being “94 years old and experienced,” and still able to play poker. She expressed her gratitude for the assistance. With only a son living in San Diego, she has no help. She said she has been availing of the REALTOR® service program for the past two years.

“Oh, lordy, I think the program is just wonderful! It’s very fantastic,” she exclaimed.

In Mountain View, an 80-year-old senior resident who lives alone and has no children, said she has requested help from SILVAR REALTORS® for the past five years.

“It’s wonderful that they give up their time to help us. I used to do everything, but it’s the high things I can’t reach,” she said, as RSVP volunteers Jamie Carmichael dusted her home and cleaned her bathroom mirrors, and Stanley Ku trimmed her bushes.

One Saratoga senior homeowner who is riddled with arthritis said she was a volunteer in the community for many years. “Now I am getting it back,” she smiled.

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Suzanne Barnett (left), host of "The Better Part" gets ready to interview RSVP co-founder David Barca and RSVP Chair Eileen Giorgi. Watch the feature on RSVP on cablecast and on the Internet next week.

Suzanne Barnett (left), host of “The Better Part” gets ready to interview RSVP co-founder David Barca and RSVP Chair Eileen Giorgi. Watch the feature on RSVP on cablecast and on the Internet next week.

SILVAR’s REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) will be featured on public television and on the Internet next week, with interviews with RSVP co-founder David Barca, RSVP chair Eileen Giorgi, RSVP District Chairs, volunteers and senior homeowners from local communities.

The program about Silicon Valley REALTORS® helping seniors and the homebound with household tasks will telecast September 1 – 7 throughout Silicon Valley on “The Better Part,” a public access television program produced by seniors from the Cupertino Senior Center. In the show, both Barca and Giorgi are interviewed by host Suzanne Barnett.

Each year during a designated week in May, teams of REALTOR® and affiliate volunteers provide senior citizens who are physically or financially challenged free assistance with household tasks they can no longer perform on their own. Such tasks include replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, cleaning windows, flipping mattresses, or installing new smoke detector batteries.

“For homeowners or renters who are advanced in years and are physically and financially challenged, some household tasks can pose a major challenge,” said Barca.

Barca, together with members of SILVAR’s Palo Alto and Menlo Park/Atherton districts, started the program in 2001. RSVP was adopted as an official association community outreach project the following year, with REALTORS® and affiliates helping seniors living in SILVAR’s five districts. RSVP has since spread throughout the Peninsula and South Bay, involving members of SILVAR, the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®, Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®, and Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS®. Since its inception, RSVP has served over 4,000 seniors. This year 447 RSVP volunteers from these associations helped 297 senior households in their communities; 241 volunteers from SILVAR assisted 118 seniors.

“As REALTORS®, we sell the benefits and aspirations of our communities,” said Giorgi. “We are also neighbors and know about local needs. We share the desire for our communities to be great places to live and are committed to give back to those who have built our communities. This program enables us to help seniors and the homebound enjoy their homes in the community for a longer time.”

Producing the show was an eye-opening experience for Diane Sparks, executive producer of “The Better Part.” “When I learned of the program, I thought it was worthwhile to show our communities that REALTORS® don’t just sell houses; they also do a lot of good work for our communities,” said Sparks. “Filming the volunteers helping the seniors and witnessing the appreciation among the seniors, showed me what a difference the program has made in their lives.”

See the schedule for days, times, cities and channels where the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program will be televised. The program can also be accessed on YouTube under the topic “Cupertino City Productions” or go to REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program.

Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®’ (SILVAR) REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) will take place May 7 -11 this year. Volunteers are needed for this special community outreach program, which is dedicated to helping seniors in the communities where SILVAR members work and live.

This year, each district has set aside special days in the week of May 7 – 11 to help seniors in their community:
Cupertino/Sunnyvale District: Wednesday, May 9
Los Altos/Mountain View District: Wednesday, May 9
Los Gatos/Saratoga District: Thursday, May 10
Menlo Park/Atherton District: Wednesday, Thursday, May 9-10
Palo Alto District: Wednesday, Thursday, May 9-10
 
RSVP is a worthwhile project, and SILVAR REALTORS® and affiliates are encouraged to volunteer their time and skills to help the elderly and the homebound in their respective communities. During RSVP week, REALTORS® and affiliates visit the homes of seniors who are physically and financially challenged and provide free assistance with household tasks like replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, washing windows, turning over mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries and other similar household tasks.

RSVP has expanded on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, with volunteers from the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® joining SILVAR and the SAMCAR (San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®) members in this outreach project. The program now serves seniors and the homebound living as far north as Daly City and as far south as Santa Cruz.

“We are really proud that every year our members have stepped up to help the seniors in their community. Last year, a total of 247 volunteers from SILVAR helped 146 seniors in the association’s five districts. This year we hope to significantly increase the number of our REALTOR® and affiliate volunteers,” said Eileen Giorgi, SILVAR’s RSVP Committee Chair.

Volunteer now by clicking on the link below, completing the volunteer application and faxing it to SILVAR at (408) 200-0101. You may also call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100 and ask that an application be mailed to you.

The deadline to volunteer is Saturday, March 31.
RSVP VOLUNTEER APPLICATION

Deadline for seniors to apply for this free service is Thursday, March 15.
RSVP SENIOR APPLICATION

For questions about RSVP, please contact SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

For seniors who are physically and financially challenged, tasks like replacing smoke detector batteries, flipping a mattress or washing the windows can be a major chore, especially if relatives who can help them don’t live nearby. Seniors and the homebound living on the Peninsula and in the South Bay may now request free assistance with such household tasks through the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) for the week of May 16-20, 2011. The deadline for seniors to request assistance is Monday, February 28.

RSVP is a community outreach program offered each year to qualified seniors who cannot otherwise perform certain household tasks due to physical or financial constraints. This free assistance is offered by local REALTORS® in cooperation with various community organizations and senior centers.

During RSVP Week, teams of REALTORS® and affiliates (professionals who provide industry-related services) will visit senior citizens and perform various cleaning and maintenance tasks free of charge. Seniors can request to have light bulbs replaced, furnace filters changed, windows cleaned, mattresses turned or new smoke detector batteries installed.

This is the 10th year the free assistance is being offered to seniors by local REALTORS®. The annual hands-on effort was organized in 2001 by members of the Sili­con Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), the local trade associations of the real estate industry on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. RSVP has since expanded to include volunteers from the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®, Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS®.

Homeowners or renters who are advanced in years with physical and financial constraints and live in the communities of Atherton, Campbell, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Monte Sereno and Los Gatos may apply for services by contacting the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® at (408) 200-0100, or visit www.silvar.org for more information and to download an application.

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