Volunteer Connections

Clark County Washington's Volunteer Connections Program connects the wisdom, experience, and talents of volunteers with opportunities to enrich the quality of life for themselves and their communities.

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Hands on Network logo

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About Us

Connecting Community, Empowering People, Changing Lives!

We engage community volunteers of all ages by recruiting, interviewing and matching the skills, talents, interests, and time availability to appropriate volunteer assignments. We can also look at assignments in close proximity to where an individual lives. We have agreements with over 250 private and public non-profit organizations that address community issues such as housing, homelessness, education, transportation, health care access, consumer protection, preserving the environment, and agencies that help at-risk children low-income families and more. Volunteers serve at a myriad of organizations including hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and agencies that serve seniors, low-income families and kids, emergency assistance and more.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program History

Created by Congress in 1968 with the Older Americans Act, RSVP was launched in 1971. It was designed to provide opportunities for retired men and women age 55 and older to participate more fully in their communities through significant service. RSVP is a federal grant program under the Corporation for National Service, and is locally sponsored by the Human Services Council.

RSVP's funding comes from a federal grant awarded and authorized by Congress annually through the Corporation for National and Community Service. Additional funding and support comes from Clark County and the State of Washington. RSVP must also fundraise in order to maintain the program.

Human Services Council Volunteer Center History

The Volunteer Center (originally called Volunteer Bureau) began at the agency in the early 1970s and was accredited by the National Volunteer Center. Early funding came from United Way; United Way of the Columbia Willamette has continued to be a funder over the last two decades. The Center led community efforts in mentoring (initiating the Mentoring Roundtable) and partner with Clark County and local schools to build service learning opportunities, including Summer of Service projects in the 1990s.

Grants and awards for our programs have also come through our membership in the Points of Light Foundation, Hands on Network, and the National Network of Volunteer Centers.


The Americorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Program is sponsored by the Corporation for National & Community Service and places individuals in non-profits and government agencies to work on programs that aim towards the reduction of poverty in low-income communities. Americorps VISTA members commit to 365 days of service, and essentially serve as capacity builders for their assigned organizations, i.e. they work to increase the ability of their organization to accomplish its mission. Americorps VISTA members are capacity builders for their organizations. They work to increase the resources of their organization. Through the service of a VISTA member, an organization might be able to do what they do better. As capacity builders, VISTAs may be involved in grant writing, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, community outreach, program development and evaluation, and economic development. Current VISTAs are involved in a wide array of activities, including economic development, homeless prevention, health care access, school retention, enhancing opportunities with oppressed populations, among other service areas.

Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA)

SHIBA volunteers assist citizens with healthcare insurance questions regarding HMO's, Medicare, Medicaid, Long Term Care, or supplemental insurance. This project is a cooperative effort of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Office and RSVP.

Prescription Assistance Program

Part of the SHIBA program, volunteers assist low-income individuals in applying to the pharmaceutical companies to receive their long-term maintenance medications for free or at a reduced price. They can be reached at (360) 735-3686.

RSVP America Reads & Counts - Helping Kids Improve Literacy & Math Skills

Volunteers serve as tutors and mentors in local elementary schools. They work one-on-one with students in kindergarten through fourth grade focusing on improving basic reading and math skills, or just as a one-on-one mentor. Orientation is provided along with training and supervision to assist them in their tutoring activities.

RSVP Pen Pal Program

Volunteers also serve with the RSVP Pen Pal Program by writing to students throughout the school year helping to improve writing and literacy skills. At the end of the year the volunteer and student have the opportunity to meet at a dessert social hosted by RSVP and the school. Volunteer pen-pals receive orientation and direction from the RSVP program.

National Days of Service

As a member of the national network of Volunteer Centers and the Points of Light Foundation, Volunteer Connections participates in:

  • Make A Difference Day on the fourth Saturday in October Sponsored nationally by USA Weekend and the Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Center National Network.
  • Family Volunteer Day on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in November Sponsored by Disney, the Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Center National Network.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the third Monday in January.

Volunteer Mobilization Center (VMC)

Volunteer Connections maintains a Volunteer Mobilization Center (VMC). The VMC is a reception and deployment center for spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers (community members) who respond to an emergency or national disaster.

VMCs facilitate the coordination of human resources to disaster response and recovery organizations though registration and referral of spontaneous volunteers. Volunteer Mobilization Centers will:

  1. Help save valuable time
  2. Ensure urgent community needs will be addressed in a timely manner
  3. Lay the foundation to help rebuild our community


50+ Connections Expo

The annual sping Expo will give you the opportunity to encounter exciting services, ideas, and resources available for your active, healthy, independent lifestyle! Nowhere else in Vancouver can you find one place that provides such an array of business and non-profit agencies that have the information you need as a Vancouver/Portland resident over 50. This is also a wonderful opportunity for families to gather information for their parents and grandparents, and still walk away with some beneficial information for themselves.Expect to see over 140 exhibits, free health screenings, prizes and interactive activities. Exhibits include experts in volunteerism, health insurance benefits, healthy living, food, retirement communities, travel, home remodeling, finance, education, fitness, and much much more. A suggested $3 donation at the door helps to support the Retired and Senior Volunteer program. For more infotmation visit: www.50plusconnectionsexpo.com


Meet the Staff

Michael Holroyd, RSVP Manager - michaelh@hsc-wa.org

Jeanne' Phipps, RSVP Assistant  -  jeannep@hsc-wa.org

Marsha Freshwater, VISTA Supervisor & RSVP Assistant  -  marshaf@hsc-wa.org

Jo Jones, RSVP Assistant  -  jo@hsc-wa.org

Chris Keuscher, SHIBA VISTA  -  rxassist@hsc-wa.org

Debbie Everts, Emergency Preparedness/VMC VISTA  -  debbie@hsc-wa.org

BJ Ellithorpe, Data Entry Volunteer  -  rsvp@hsc-wa.org

LauraLee, Linda & Yvonne, Receptionists  -  volunteerconnections@hsc-wa.org

Volunteer Connections Advisory Council

Kathy McLaughlin - President, Pat Stephens - Secretary, Barbara Choltco, Ed Frankel, Regina George, David Love, Tracy Nagy, Judy Sloan, Shirley Smith