Janet Garber, Arlington RSVP’er of the Year

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Arlington Cares, celebration of volunteerism, held by Volunteer Arlington, is scheduled to take place a week from today, Tuesday, July 24, 2018, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association,4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington

At this free event, Volunteer Arlington will recognize its 2018 award winners as well as community volunteers who have served 100 hours or more within the past year. One of the honorees will be RSVP NOVA volunteer Janet Garber who has been named the Arlington 2018 RSVP Volunteer of the year. You can get to know Janet in the volunteer close-up below. Congratulations Janet!

Janet Garber had just retired from a job she says was “pretty intense.”

She said during her career with the federal government which concluded in 2009 she didn’t have any time of her own, or “that’s the way it felt,” she said.

Spare time in hand as a newly-minted retiree, Janet embarked on a journey to find meaningful volunteer opportunities  which brought her to RSVP Northern Virginia.

To register for the free Arlington Cares event, please sign up at here before the end of business, Thursday, July 19th

“Trying to find them on my own was becoming difficult and I heard about RSVP, she said. She had heard that about RSVP’s personalized approach which includes asking volunteers   about what their skills interests and passions are and then matching them up with volunteer  opportunities. “ I jumped on that.” Janet said.

“RSVP does a fantastic job of   collecting your skills your desires and  trying to match them up … if something doesn’t (fit) they will  help  you find something else to do, ” Janet Garber, 2018 Arlington  RSVP Volunteer of the Year

Janet says her first volunteer project with RSVP about five and a half years ago involved   helping out at on a rebuilding project.

“I used to do some furniture building and this was more in the carpentry business working houses, but at  least I knew how to use the tools so I went and helped, she says. “They were individual projects one-day efforts but it was a lot of fun very rewarding and I learned quite a bit from  the people that I was working with it.”

“A lot of the volunteer work I have done has been working with seniors, by choice,” she adds.

“It is so rewarding to help people that are really my peers. I am helping them   in areas that perhaps they don’t have the skills that I do. They have different skills, but the appreciation from their side and the gratification from my side that I am able to help somebody else is just amazing.”

Janet later moved onto a volunteer position  at Vinson Hall, an RSVP nonprofit partner in McLean that is home to hundreds of  veterans and spouses of veterans.

She later found out about the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics, another RSVP partner for which she has volunteered for more than seven years.

“I did not even know the senior Olympics existed,” she recalled during an interview in a community room at the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Wakefield Recreation Center in Annandale, where the NVSO board meets every month.

“I saw an announcement that they were looking for volunteers so the first year

I volunteered with them (the NVSO) all I did is sit and hold a stopwatch and time swimmers, she says. “As I was a swimmer I’m looking at all these people going into the pool, I am doing a little math in my head and going ‘oh my gosh, these people are 10-15 years older than me and they are all faster swimmers’ It was very exciting!”

Janet says  she says she prefers the longer term volunteer opportunities like the one she enjoys with the NVSO.

“You get a greater sense o fellowship not just with the people that  you’re on committees with but the people  that you’re helping.”

Janet has now been with the NVSO for more than 7 years. She joined the board and has served a term at the NVSO board chair.

Each  September she is a familiar face at several NVSO venues keeping track of competitors’ times and scores at the track events in Arlington, the horseshoe and bocce scores in Fairfax City and recording the times for the swimming races in Loudoun County, utilizing a great deal of her experience in statistics from her days working in budget and finance for the Department of Defense.

Janet and the  rest of the NVSO board is already hard at work organizing the 2018 games that begin Saturday, Sept. 15,.

Janet, who turned 65 in October, stays busy  with other volunteer work when not working on RSVP related projects. Each year she volunteers to help people with taxes thru AARP’s tax preparation program.

Janet’s advice to retirees looking for a best volunteer opportunities?

“RSVP is a great place to start,” she says.

“RSVP does a fantastic job of   collecting your skills your desires and  trying to match them up … if something doesn’t (fit) they will  help  you find something else to do.

Why does Janet volunteer?

“I do the volunteer work because of how good it makes me feel.”

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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