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Paynesville Press - May 8, 2002

Rewards offered to volunteers

By Michael Jacobson

The R.O.S.E. (Reaching Out to Seniors Effectively) Center has initiated a new program to reward volunteers for every hour they spend volunteering.

Volunteers are now being rewarded through a new P.E.T.A.L.S. (People Excited To Assist Local Seniors) program by local businesses that have donated items that volunteers can claim by putting in certain number of hours. A free pass to the Paynesville Historical Society takes 13 hours of volunteering, a free movie pass requires 25 hours, and a weekday green fee at the golf course takes 140 hours.

The reward is small, amounting to a handful of change for each hour, admits program director Tammy Weinke, but the goodwill can go a long ways with volunteers. "It's amazing how something little like this is really appreciated," she said. The reward program took effect on March 1.

The R.O.S.E. Center currently has 75 active volunteers and 50 clients. Volunteers may spend only an hour a month or up to three or four hours a week aiding seniors in whatever they might need, from driving to appointments to raking leaves, from fixing hair to walking the dog.

"Basically, anything a senior would need we try to arrange a volunteer match," said Weinke.

Last fall, the program expanded - which is funded by a grant from the Elderberry Institute - expanded beyond the city limits to the school district boundaries.

Now the staff - Weinke and volunteer coordinator Ann Lemke are concentrating on helping more seniors and finding more volunteers. The reward program, which features donated goods or services from 18 local businesses, is part of the effort to get more volunteers.

"As it keeps expanding like it is, we could always use more people," said Weinke.

Anyone interest in volunteering at the R.O.S.E. Center, or in utilizing its services, should call Weinke or Lemke in their office at the Paynesville Area Center at 320-243-5144.

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