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Where Volunteers Make a Difference

#Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on December 3rd and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they all mean even more when we give together. Last year, RSVP of Dane County was able to raise over $11,000.00 to support our programs in the community: Providing rides to medical appointments for seniors and veterans, tutoring in schools, providing quilts and knitted items, supporting food pantries and other community needs.

Please help spread the word about this great fundraising opportunity for RSVP of Dane County!

Leading up to Giving Tuesday, our Facebook page will feature stories of our volunteers. When you “Like” and “Share” our Facebook page, others can learn about RSVP, the opportunities we offer and the wonderful work our volunteers do in our community.

We are very fortunate to have generous supporters again year that will match your donation dollar for dollar up to $5000.00. Your $10.00 gift becomes $20.00, your $25.00 gift becomes $50.00, or your $100.00 gift becomes $200.00.

To make a Giving Tuesday donation:

By check: Please make your check out to RSVP of Dane County, Inc. In the memo line, please write “Giving Tuesday”, and date your check December 3, 2019

By Website, Starting December 1st
: Please follow link to the Donate page.

  • Click on the Donate button to the right. This will direct you to our donation page.
  • You may choose to donate by Pay Pal or your credit card.
  • In the special instruction box please type “This is a Giving Tuesday Contribution”.

The more we share this message, the more successful our fundraiser will be!

Click on the Annual Report graphic below to search for answers to our RSVP Jeopardy questions.

#GivingTuesday Volunteer Stories

Click on the stories below to read about our featured volunteers.

Fred Appleton - November 19, 2019

Fred Appleton has been volunteering with RSVP since the year 2000 and has achieved the 2019 President's Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteering more than 4,000 hours. Fred says he volunteers eight hours a week, and it just adds up. He had no idea that he surpassed that many hours and was quite surprised by it!

Since 2002, Fred has been volunteering at the organization by the name of "Wheels for Winners." This is an organization which provides bicycles to individuals (primarily youth) who perform community service.

When Fred retired, he searched out places to volunteer his time and "Wheels for Winners" was the one he enjoyed the most. Fred says that all his volunteering keeps him out of his wife's hair (haha!), and that he enjoys his co-workers so much. Over time, he has become a board member and thoroughly enjoys when a child comes in to pick out their bicycle, which sometimes takes a while as there can be a large selection. When the child finds the right bike and their eyes light up - all the volunteers present light up as well.

Fred says they take in bicycles donated to the organization, refurbish them, and then give them away to those deserving kids who could not otherwise afford a bicycle. In addition to the bicycle, "Wheels for Winners" provides a bicycle helmet and bike safety training. The kids are then let loose with their new bicycle.

Fred says that anyone wishing to volunteer with RSVP should not give it a second thought. The rewards the volunteers receive in seeing the excitement and joy of others cannot be described. When asked about his rewards for volunteering, Fred quoted the great boxer Muhammed Ali by saying, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth."

Fred enjoys riding a bike, not just fixing them and simply likes to stay active with things that he enjoys - knowing it make a difference to the lives of others. What a great attitude!

Congratulations, Fred! You are truly a wonderful example of a volunteer making a difference to so many other people.

Foster Grandparent Charlotte Rankin - November 12, 2019

Schooled: v. taught a lesson the hard way; to lose humiliatingly. The Urban Dictionary.

If you've played basketball, you've probably heard the term "schooled." For non-players, I'll explain it this way. Let's say a high school player get into a pickup game with basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. The kid makes a move on Shaq, going for the basket. At the last second, Shaq reaches up and blocks the kid's shot so hard that the kid crashes to the floor. You'd say that Shaq had "schooled" the high school player.

Very few people ever schooled Shaquille O'Neal. He was a fifteen-time NBA All-Star and is enshrined in the NBA Hall of Fame. In his playing days he stood 7'1" and weighed over 300 lbs.

But this story is about the lady, a little over five feet tall, who schooled Shaquille O'Neal for three years. She's now starring as a Foster Grandparent with RSVP of Dane County.

Charlotte Rankin was born on a farm in Shelby County, Kentucky, where her mom, dad, sister and five brothers milked a dozen cows. Her mother made pillow cases and even dresses out of feed sacks. Charlotte was the eldest, and helped raise all the babies who came after her. This was during the era of "separate but equal" in Kentucky, and Charlotte and her brothers and and sister attended an all-Black rural school through eighth grade, and then Lincoln Institute, and all-Black residential high school two miles down the road.

Charlotte excelled at her studies, graduating as Lincoln's valedictorian. She went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree in biology from Kentucky State College. After college, she began a teaching career in Louisville, specializing in teaching science and math to grade schoolers. After five years in the Louisville schools, she attended Murray State University where she earned her Master's Degree. Charlotte then began an adventuresome life, traveling across Europe, the Middle East, Russia and America.

The adventure begins when she was teaching in Louisville and was recruited to teach school for the U.S. Department of Education in Germany. She moved to Stuttgart, where she taught children and adults in all branches of the military service. Her specialty was again science and math, plus computer science. After five years in the Stuttgart area, she moved to a base in Fulda, near the East German border, where she taught for five more years.

One of her students was a tall, skinny kid, with big hands and feet, name Shaquille O'Neal. Charlotte taught Shaq for parts of his sixth, seventh and eight grade years. Her nephew had moved from the States to attend the school in Germany, and he and O'Neal became friends. Charlotte was one of the adults in charge of keeping the boys in line during their early teenage years, always an adventure. She recalls that she had a challenge keeping Shaq on track with his studies, as he was, even then, focused mainly on basketball. She characterizes Shaq as a "gentle soul...there wasn't a hateful bone in his body."

While she lived in Germany, Charlotte learned German and traveled widely, driving her red Chevy Camaro all over Europe. She also visited Russia, some of the old Eastern Bloc countries and Israel. After ten years of teaching in Germany, she moved back to the States, where she continued her travels, living and working in places like Louisville, Duluth, Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and even the high desert of California. After a few years in the West, she wanted to get back to the Midwest, and she and her sister, Jessie, chose Madison.

Charlotte is a natural learner, teacher and volunteer. She is as excited about science today as she was as a college student, and reads widely about biology, nature and wildlife. She has loved living creatures and nature all her life, for which she credits her Cherokee mother. She has rescued numerous dogs and cats in the U.S. and Europe, and she and her sister currently have two kitties and an aquarium full of fish.

Charlotte works in a community garden and has volunteered with several community projects in South Madison. She sings with the choir at the Second Baptist Church, coordinates events for her apartment complex and works with Alzheimer's issues. Her love of all kinds of music extends from classical to Gregorian chants to jazz...she has met and socialized with Madison jazz notables Richard Davis and the late Clyde Stubblefield, among others.

Charlotte's latest adventure is being a Foster Grandparent. She first heard about it when she joined the RSVP Bus Buddies program. At one of the Bus Buddies trips, RSVP Assistant Director Diana Jost passed out information about Foster Grandparents, and Charlotte thought that the program was just what she had prayed for. A chance to get back into the classroom and work with kids. She is assigned to three classrooms at Lincoln Elementary, which is located just across the street from her apartment. She loves volunteering with the children, sharing her lifelong fascination with learning and teaching about science, math and nature.

Charlotte Rankin has lived an adventurous life and after talking to her it is obvious that she has lived it to the fullest. And she has loved the people she's met, lived with, taught and helped along the way. I asked her her secret to a happy life. She thought a minute and then said, "Nature. Take care of the land, and it will take care of you."

What a joy it was to get to know the lady who schooled Shaquille O'Neal.


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Volunteers Tell Us

Provides Structure to My Days
“Volunteering has put me in touch with people I would not have normally met. Introduced me to others from different cultural backgrounds. Helped provide structure to my days.”
- RSVP Volunteer