Volunteer services in Dodge City and Ford County have a new advocate as Lisa Killion has taken over as director for the Ford County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
Community service and advocating for others is not new to Killion, who, prior to starting at Ford County RSVP May 14, worked to help students achieve their academic goals as Coordinator for the Academic Success Center at Dodge City Community College. Killion has sat on the USD 443 Board of Education since 2010 and currently serves as board president.
The Ulysses High School and Friends University graduate and long-time Dodge City resident, is also on the advisory board for Dodge City High School wrestling, and is actively involved in children’s ministry and music ministry at Abundant Life Church.
Killion said that she is excited to work with the 100-plus volunteers already serving, and says volunteers find the experience rewarding.
"RSVP finds ways to not only help the community," Killion said, "but also helps citizens give back to the community."
The Ford County RSVP program was launched in spring 1974 as an avenue for retired individuals to serve community needs and fellow seniors. Dodge City Community College has been the sponsoring agency for the majority of the organization’s existence.
RSVP matches people over age 55 with much-needed community projects or activities that suit the individual’s interests and skill set. Volunteers from the organization help provide local schools with reading tutors, serve as child advocates in the court system, deliver hot meals to seniors who may be homebound, provide transportation assistance, assist in grocery shopping, and assist in community recycling and beautification efforts.
According to Killion, RSVP volunteers are coordinating with the Red Cross to install smoke detectors in homes around Ford County. The group also partners with Arrowhead West to find volunteer opportunities for their clients.
The transportation services are a primary focus for Killion and the RSVP volunteers. Rural medicine means doctors and specialists are often remote, and RSVP assistance is invaluable for seniors needing to travel but unable to drive themselves.
"Transportation for those in need is one of our biggest projects," Killion said. "We have drivers who take people to appointments in Garden City or Wichita or wherever it may be."
RSVP volunteers also participate in the Blue Star Mothers program that sends care packages to deployed military from Ford County, as well as health fairs and disaster preparedness mobilization.
RSVP and the Ford County Volunteer Center team up with Dodge City Community College Head Baseball Coach Phil Stephenson and his players each year to help paint homes, fix fences, and perform general clean-up on properties around town. Killion said she hopes to see more participation from other teams or organizations.
"I would definitely be interested to see if we could expand on that," she said.
For more information or to volunteer call the Ford County Volunteer Center/RSVP at 620-227-7707.