Bates County MU Extension Office Awarded $75,000 to Support Senior Volunteer Service

Butler, MO – Bates County MU Extension Office announced that it has received an AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) grant of $75,000 from the AmeriCorps federal agency to support 75 RSVP volunteers serving in Bates County. The grant will expand MU Extension’s presence in Bates County, which was previously unserved by an AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP project.

Sara Bridgewater, County Engagement Specialist at Bates County MU Extension Office, says, “We are thrilled to expand our work by collaborating with volunteers and community organizations to execute a new set of projects that will focus on Healthy Futures and Education in Bates County. These opportunities, created by a grant proposal, are initiatives to help the county thrive.”

With this new funding, Bates County MU Extension Office will leverage the skills and experience of seniors in Bates County to partner with community groups and organizations, focusing on Youth, Health, Education, and Agriculture projects in Bates County.

These AmeriCorps Seniors’ volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in many different projects throughout the year. A few projects include:

  • Community Gardens: RSVP volunteers will help implement community gardens and help distribute produce to food pantries.
  • Summer Readiness Backpacks: RSVP volunteers will collaborate with teachers to assemble and provide Summer Readiness Backpacks that will include STEM activities and supplies.  These will be dispersed to students to help with gains in school readiness.
  • 4-H & STEM Activities:  RSVP volunteers will engage youth in 4-H club activities, Science Olympiad, and other extra-curricular activities that contribute to improved educational outcomes. Activities may include leadership practice, public speaking practice, hands-on STEM activities, youth-led community service projects, and other topic-based projects that engage youth.

Bates County MU Extension Office has safety measures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Safety for our volunteers and staff is our top priority.  If you are interested in volunteering, please call the Bates County Extension Office at 660-679-4167 or email Sara Bridgewater at for more information.

AmeriCorps Seniors’ volunteers stay healthy and active through service, improving their own lives as they improve the lives of others. A growing body of research affirms the numerous mental and physical health benefits of volunteerism, including lower mortality rates, decreased rates of depression, and increased strength and energy.

Today, AmeriCorps Seniors engages approximately 195,000 older Americans in service at 29,800 locations across the United States and territories through its Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion, and RSVP programs. Established in 1971, RSVP engages Americans age 55 and older in service, responding to our nation’s most pressing challenges.