Volunteers aim to keep homebound connected to community

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 25, 2012


Do you know someone homebound in Oakland County who would appreciate a friendly phone call on a regular basis?

Volunteers from the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Oakland County stand ready to call people who need a chat through the Service With Love program.

Carol Heckman, RSVP program service manager, explained that the RSVP volunteers are older than 55 years old and call their “clients” at designated times.

“Some callers have phoned the same clients for 15 years,” she said. “They develop nice relationships.”

Calls may be made to check on the safety of a client or simply for friendly some chitchat.

Clients have said the volunteers become their friends, and it makes them feel safe knowing volunteers are checking in and will summon help if clients don’t answer their call.

Clients are surveyed each year, and the surveys “are all very positive,” Heckman said. “They say they enjoy the conversations and feel less lonely. Some want a call every morning, to make sure they are OK.”

“A friendly conversation can make all the difference in the world,” Herschell T. Masten, executive director of community and volunteer services for RSVP, said via email. “With so many people in our community being isolated or alone in their home, Service With Love is an essential program to keep older adults connected to their community.”

Heckman explained that the group, a program of Catholic Social Services of Oakland County and sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, took over the service from the North Oakland Medical Center when asked to 15 years ago.

Heckman noted that the program is available to anyone in Oakland County, regardless of age or faith.

Those who wish to receive calls from a Service With Love volunteer or who want to submit the name of a client — with the potential client’s permission — should call (248) 559-1147, ext. 3435.