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ULM gerontology obtains mayoral proclamation for Service Recognition Day

Published April 23, 2015

Representatives from the University of Louisiana at Monroe Gerontology Department, in collaboration with ULM’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and AmeriCorps, recently celebrated Service Recognition Day, which was officially proclaimed as April 10, by Mayors Jamie Mayo of Monroe and Dave Norris of West Monroe.

Dr. Karen Kopera-Frye, Biedenharn Endowed Chair and Professor of gerontology at ULM, worked with Rita Massey, RSVP program director, Julia Wilhite, program director of AmeriCorps, and Meghan Olinger, volunteer program coordinator of AmeriCorps to celebrate the proclamation last week.

The celebration was held at the West Monroe Community Center.


“A wonderful group gathered for the festivities, together with RSVP older adult and AmeriCorps younger adult volunteers,” said Frye.

Both ULM and AmeriCorps host volunteer programs which are facilitated by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The CNCS is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering.

Each year, CNCS engages more than five million Americans of all ages in service to meet local needs through its Senior Corps projects and AmeriCorps programs. ULM’s RSVP and Foster Grandparent programs are Senior Corps programs.

There are approximately 500 unpaid RSVP members in Ouachita and Union parishes. These RSVP members are aged 55 and up and volunteer to tutor children in schools; participate in neighborhood watches; and ride with police in patrols.

The local AmeriCorps chapter engages college students to tutor local elementary school children at the West Monroe Community Center for 30 hours per week. According to Frye, ULM provides the largest number of AmeriCorps volunteers in the region.

Together, RSVP and AmeriCorps have provided thousands of hours in civic engagement.

Frye said, “These volunteers are truly treasures—tirelessly donating their time and talent to improve the lives of all individuals in our communities. We at the ULM Gerontology Department are honored to work with such a wonderful group and proud to have them in our department.”