For the love of helping others

  “I love to help others,” says Ken Kozloff, RSVP volunteer.  “I enjoy volunteering with RSVP, not only for what I do as a volunteer, but also for the social aspect of working with other people.” 

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RSVP Northern Virginia volunteer Ken Kozloff moves through the pool at Providence RECenter encouraging the special needs child he is teaching to swim, to “stroke, breathe, and kick.”

 Kozloff high-fives his students at the end of each lap and asks, “Are you having a good time?”  All the while he is keeping an eye on two other volunteers he is mentoring during a Fairfax County Park Authority Adapted Aquatics class.

  “I love to help others,” Kozloff says.  “I enjoy volunteering with RSVP, not only for what I do as a volunteer, but also for the social aspect of working with other people.”  During the senior Olympics he managed anywhere from 10 to 30 volunteers at the different events.

 Kozloff will continue to do this for about 90 minutes on a Sunday morning without much of a break.  Sometimes he lifts students half his weight into the air so they can experience the joy of splashing into the pool.  You would never guess that the former INOVA Alexandria Hospital CEO turned 70 years old in August.  “I don’t feel 70, I feel like 25!” he says.

 Kozloff donates more than 40 hours of his time each month as an RSVP Northern Virginia volunteer, helping autistic children learn how to swim, mentoring economically disadvantaged citizens to manage their finances, and directing other volunteers at large events for RSVP, including the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics in September.

ED_RWP8450 RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) is the region’s largest volunteer network for people 55 and older and provides individualized support to seniors seeking service opportunities in and around Fairfax County, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

 When he is not volunteering for other organizations, he is a volunteer engagement leader for RSVP, acting as a nonprofit evangelist of sorts, spreading the word on why RSVP is such a great program.  “What’s unique about RSVP is the approach it takes to new volunteers, helping them to find what they’re looking to do, not where we are looking to place them,” he says.

 RSVP asks each prospective volunteer, “How can we help you find that volunteer opportunity that is going to mean something to you?” Kozloff says.  

Nearly six  years ago, he began volunteering with the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Adaptive Aquatics program, teaching children on the autism spectrum to swim.  He later added another afternoon of classes at Spring Hill Recreation Center in McLean, teaching special needs adults to swim, including those with neurological issues or physical impairments. The  park authority honored Kozloff in 2015 as the Adaptive Aquatics Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.  He also works with  Our Daily Bread (now called BritePaths) where he has volunteered for more than  four years as a financial mentor.   

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Ken Kozloff chats with a competitor at the 2017 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics swim meet in Sterling, Va.

In an eight-day span in September-2017,  the busy RSVP volunteer managed volunteers at several community projects including the NVSO’s  indoor track meet in Arlington and its swimming championships in Sterling and a gardening project at River Farm in Alexandria.

  “I love to help others,” Kozloff says.  “I enjoy volunteering with RSVP, not only for what I do as a volunteer, but also for the social aspect of working with other people.”  During the senior Olympics he managed anywhere from 10 to 30 volunteers at the different events.

 What separates RSVP from other volunteer organizations is its leadership and the approach it takes, treating each volunteer as an individual, according to Kozloff.  As an engagement leader, Kozloff tells prospective volunteers “We are going to show you things and talk to you about specific opportunities that you can relate to.”

 RSVP offers a wide array of opportunities for volunteers including providing rides, support and meals to older neighbors, assisting local veterans in need and helping prepare communities for disasters. RSVP also recruits volunteers for various community events.

 RSVP volunteers enjoy flexible schedules, free accident and liability insurance while serving, optional mileage and meal reimbursement and are invited to volunteer group projects and social gatherings.

 What does Kozloff get out of volunteering?  “The big thing that I get out of volunteering is the satisfaction of helping others,” he says.  “I love to help others, find out what their goals are and help them achieve them, whether it is teaching an autistic child to swim from one side of the pool to the other, or teaching a stroke patient who would like to learn to swim again.

 He also enjoys working with other volunteers and letting them know how important it is to make other people feel good.  He tells them that they will feel twice as good because they are helping people.

Ken Kozloff  in April was honored as the  2018  Fairfax County RSVP-Northern Virginia Volunteer of the Year

Established in 1993, the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards serve as a community-wide celebration of volunteerism. The awards honor individuals, groups and organizations that have given outstanding volunteer service through a broad range of activities and programs.

RSVP Northern Virginia, a program of Volunteer Fairfax, is the region’s largest volunteer network for people 55 and older and provides individualized support to seniors seeking service opportunities in and around Fairfax County, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

RSVP Volunteer Ken KozloffRSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) locally offers more than 200 meaningful volunteer opportunities to seniors and supports 30 of the top nonprofits and government agencies in the region that help residents age in place, support local veterans in need, keep our parks green, help move people towards financial independence  and that help prepare communities for disasters

Kozloff was nominated for the RSVP award by Gayle Robinson, director of program innovation at  Junior  Achievement of Greater Washington, a program that strives to inspire the next generation to be financially capable and tenacious problem solvers who creatively manage risk and welcome opportunity.

“Ken is a go-to volunteer that is always happy to help. His flexibility and passion make him an ideal volunteer to have on board,” Robinson wrote in her nomination.  “He deserves to be recognized for his intentional dedication to supporting our communities through his volunteer activism.”

Ken is a familiar face at Junior Achievement Finance Park in Central Fairfax, a state-of- the-art facility where eighth graders from across the county get hands-on experience and guidance so they can meet the fiscal challenges of everyday life.  Ken is also a regular in local schools teaching financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship as a JA volunteer.  Robinson  says “Kozloff’s energy and enthusiasm are contagious.”  Ken has taught more than a dozen classes at local schools impacting close to 300 students, according to Robinson.  “Ken is our go-to volunteer who is always happy to help,” she says.  “We are so thankful for his support!

Kozloff parlayed his experience with Adapted Aquatics into expanding JA’s high school program to include special needs students.  He suggested to JA “What about working with special needs children in the schools?” Nothing like that had been done, he was told. He replied “Why not, “ so Kozloff developed a financial literacy curriculum for special needs students.

After a successful pilot project at Oakton High School, thanks to Kozloff’s vision, the program now called JA Life Skills Learning, is offered at several county high schools.

 

Kozloff told a recent group of new RSVP recruits “What you get back (from volunteering) is like 20 times more than what you are giving.”  In March RSVP Northern Virginia  honored Kozloff with a Point of Light President’s Volunteer Service Award.

“Ken is the prime example of an RSVP volunteer and of how much impact one individual can have on their community” says RSVP Northern Virginia volunteer specialist Carly Hubicki. “I know that I can always count on Ken whenever I need his help.” Hubicki says.

“Ken has a way of truly engaging and energizing our volunteers to take action. He is able to captivate the audience and get them excited about signing up for the program and volunteering! He has done all of this amazing work in just the three years he has been retired, and I know he isn’t slowing down anytime soon,” Hubicki says. Kozloff, a former INOVA Alexandria Hospital CEO, turns 71 years old last August.

More about RSVP Northern Virginia 

RSVP Northern Virginia, the largest volunteer group for seniors and retirees in the region,  offers more than 200 meaningful opportunities that include helping seniors age in place, assisting local veterans, and helping prepare communities for disasters. RSVP also recruits volunteers for various community events including the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics. 

RSVP volunteers enjoy flexible schedules, free accident and liability insurance while serving, optional mileage and meal reimbursement and are invited to volunteer group projects and social gatherings.

To sign up for an upcoming free RSVP seminar on senior volunteering please email RSVP Volunteer Specialist Carly Hubicki at chubicki@volunteerfairfax.org or call RSVP at 703-403-5360. To learn more about RSVP, please visit www.rsvpnova.org.  RSVP Northern  Virginia is program of Volunteer Fairfax,   Volunteer Arlington and Volunteer Alexandria.

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