Dr. Marvin Copes, coordinator of the Shelby County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in his office, Room 122 in the Butch Ellis Community Services Building in Columbiana. (Contributed)

Archived Story

Marvin Copes wants local seniors to volunteer

Published 5:20pm Monday, January 7, 2013

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Are you a senior with some extra time on your hands? Do you have a desire to help others? Are you lonely and want some new friends? Dr. Marvin Copes wants you to RSVP — come join the Shelby County Retired Senior Volunteer Program, the largest volunteer group of seniors in Alabama.

Copes is the head cheerleader for the Shelby County RSVP program. Since 2009, Copes has coordinated the program that connects adults more than age 55 to their community through volunteerism. Today approximately 1,100 seniors volunteer more than 300,000 hours yearly in 132 stations (volunteer opportunities). RSVP has more than doubled in volunteers and stations under Copes’ leadership.

RSVP has many diversified opportunities to serve: Meals on Wheels; providing respite for caregivers; helping school children with reading skills; serving as docents at Shelby County museums and historical sites; sewing; senior groups, centers, and living facilities; emergency and disaster relief; Red Hat societies; Tele-A-Care; civic organizations and churches; clerical; friendly visiting and much more. Copes works hard to find the perfect fit for the senior and volunteer opportunity. His goal is to encourage seniors to “retire to inspire.”

“I am a goal setter,” said Copes. “If I like what I do, I try to excel. My mother had dementia. I feel it is important for me to challenge my mind and to challenge others. An individual who retires and goes home and sits does not have the life expectancy as someone who remains active and involved.”

Copes has many years of experience leading others. After graduating from Purdue University with his Ph.D. in education administration, Copes has a long and stellar career in teaching, education and administration working with students and adults. After moving to Shelby County to be close to family, Copes was a member of Leadership Shelby County 2005. In 2007, Copes received the Golden Eagle Humanitarian Award by the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

The RSVP motto says it best: “People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

For information, contact Copes at 669-3837 and Shelbycountyrsvp.com.


Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by email at phoeberobinson@bellsouth.net.

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