By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Enid needs more volunteers, and Christy Baker wants to find them.
Baker has been named executive director of Retired Senior Volunteer Program, succeeding the late Bennie Mullins.
Baker has worked for RSVP five years and has been assistant director four years. Board President Lavonn McKnight said the selection was unanimous.
Baker was hired as assistant director in 2008. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in marketing. Prior to joining RSVP, she worked in marketing positions. She is on the board of directors of Enid March of Dimes and a graduate of Leadership Greater Enid. She and her husband, Chip, and 13-month-old son Cash, live in Enid.
Baker said she is honored by the trust of the board.
“This is an important agency because our volunteers do so much to help so many people, and I will do my best in this position,” Baker said. “I hope I make Bennie proud.”
Enid’s RSVP organization is part of the largest senior volunteer organization in the United States. It recruits people 55 and older in a diverse range of volunteer activities that meet needs in education, the environment, public safety and other areas. Volunteers choose how, where and how often they want to serve, with commitments ranging from a few hours per day to many hours. RSVP has 962 volunteers.
“There is a deficit in the community in transportation assistance for seniors — to doctors appointments or the grocery store. We tried to implement a program where people call here, but we didn’t secure the funds. We are going to try to do that this year,” Baker said. “Those funds will be used to pay mileage for volunteers.”
RSVP has a funding cap of $50 per month established by the state, and will need additional funds to run the program and reimburse the volunteers.
RSVP also facilitates Enid Mobile Meals as a partner with ARK (Acts of Random Kindness).
Baker also has in mind a mobile books program, through Public Library of Enid and Garfield County. The program would furnish books to seniors to assist them with loneliness and abandonment issues. Mobile Meals volunteers would deliver books to the seniors every three weeks.
“They would bring new books and take the old ones,” she said.
Baker said RSVP saved the community $1.8 million in 2012 by performing volunteer jobs to public and nonprofit agencies and seniors. RSVP is a United Way agency, and its volunteers work in 13 of the 15 other United Way agencies.
“Our volunteers always say they receive more than they give by the volunteer work they do, but I think both the volunteer and the recipient are enriched by their efforts,” Baker said. “Our community will always need more volunteers, so call if you have a few hours to volunteer and we will work hard to find the perfect fit for you.”
RSVP is located at 602 S. Van Buren. The phone number is 233-5914.