Dorothy Roeder continually impacts others in Southwest Montana through volunteer service with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). She frequently promotes RSVP by explaining through volunteer work she has, “a reason to get up each morning” and others can experience the same. She especially seeks out those who have recently moved to the area to assist these individuals in developing a network of social support. She embraces each individual encouraging volunteer service with several organizations. Dorothy is in charge of the RSVP Handcrafters. This group of volunteers make baby caps for newborns, caps and scarves for Head Start Children, small quilts for animal adoptions, quilts and afghans for local families displaced from their homes, lap robes for nursing home residents, and caps for troops overseas. Dorothy delights in sharing the community with others. Each summer she staffs the Chamber of Commerce Information booth educating tourists who come through the area enlightening them about unique attractions. Dorothy delivers meals on wheels each week and impacts those she visits with friendly greeting and familiar face. She delivers senior commodities for the local food bank and she is always available helping Big Brothers Big Sisters with fundraisers, assisting medical students in experiencing personal interviews with seniors, contributing to special events for numerous nonprofit organizations, and calling to see how someone is feeling, or recovering, or why they haven’t been around in a while.
Dorothy has been a member of RSVP’s Advisory Council for six years. She has a unique perspective since she is RSVP’s most prolific volunteer, continually recruits new volunteers, and checks in with volunteers to assess their experiences. Dorothy oversees a group of about 30 women who produce handcrafts. This group of “Handcrafters” is a wonderful, inclusive, very productive bunch. Dorothy assigns tasks as needed and arranges sales at the local farmer’s market, fair, and craft shows with proceeds going to benefit local organizations. Dorothy takes every opportunity to tell others about RSVP and the benefits of being meaningfully occupied in the later years of life. Tourists from around the country have placed special orders for hand embroidered dish towels and Dorothy sees that each one is filled! A member of “Handcrafters” suffered a stroke and Dorothy kept encouraging her to return to the group which meets each week. Recently this woman and her daughter shared that this encouragement from Dorothy was very significant in her recovery and socialization even though her speech is now limited. Dorothy persuades each volunteer with “Handcrafters” to learn new things and to contribute according to their potential.
Dorothy is a “people person!” She seeks out others and draws them out of their shells. Dorothy’s organizational skills shine as she oversees the weekly booth at the farmer’s market and other shows throughout the year. In addition, Dorothy’s skills of knitting, embroidering, crocheting, quilting and sewing are vital to “Handcrafters.”