Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)




Volunteering is an amazing experience. 
Arrowhead RSVP can help you make it truly rewarding by connecting you with an opportunity that will fit your schedule and make the best use of the many talents you have to share.

It is our mission to engage individuals in volunteer service that will not only meet critical needs in your community, but will provide you with a high quality experience that will enrich your life.

 Arrowhead RSVP 
Enagages persons 55 and better in volunteer service to meet critical community needs and to provide a high-quality experience to enrich their lives.

Anyone who has a desire to serve the community as a volunteer is eligible to register with Arrowhead RSVP or Northland Volunteer Center.  There are no restrictions based on education, income, or experience.

Our volunteers serve Cook, Lake and St. Louis Counties, including the City of Duluth, through nonprofit organizations and health care facilities; including schools, libraries, hospitals, tourist attractions, nursing homes, animal shelters, food shelves, and a wide variety of other community programs.

Volunteer opportunities involve helping children to read, delivering Meals on Wheels, preserving the natural environment, providing tourist information, friendly visiting and more.  Our volunteers provide the equivalent of 4.9 million dollars in volunteer service annually.

Service hours are scheduled to meet the individual wishes and interests of the volunteer as well as the volunteer location.  Each volunteer is asked to give 48 or more service hours during the year.

Once your application is received, someone will be in contact with you soon to assist you in volunteer placement.

 RSVP Volunteers are Provided:

  • Personal assistance in finding an opportunity that is interesting and rewarding
  • A chance to share life experiences to help others
  • Satisfaction in knowing one is helping to meet critical community needs
  • The opportunity to meet new people and face new challenges
  • Excess accident and liability insurance while volunteering
  • Help with travel expenses if needed (for RSVP volunteers only)
  • Recognition for service

 Americorps Seniors Stackedlogo Crimson







Dana Waldron


Dana Waldron

Dana Waldron has been volunteering with AEOA's Taxpayer Assistance Program for eight (8) years now. Dana isn't just a volunteer for the program but the Volunteer Coordinator, which means he works with all of the other volunteers to ensure they get the supplies and training they need to successfully and efficiently prepare taxes each year. As the Volunteer Coordinator it is also Dana's job to work with AEOA and AARP to ensure the sites are secured, the supplies are ordered, and the program goes off without a hitch. Dana really puts his heart into this program; when you ask any of the other volunteers about Dana they talk about all he does for the program, how easy he is to work with, and what a nice guy he is.

Dana got his start in volunteering 10 years ago for AARP's Smart Driver Program which led him to Tax-Aide. When asked what he likes most about doing the Tax Program, Dana said he really does enjoy doing taxes and that some returns are "challenging" which allows him to work closely with his partners in the program. Dana, and all volunteers in this program, love working together to solve a challenging return, it allows them the opportunity to test their skills and to work together. Another favorite part of the Tax Program for Dana, and many of the other volunteers, is seeing many returning faces each year. Dana says it is fun to hear and see people excited to see them again each year, many even hoping to get the same preparer from the year before, it is a nice way of building small connections with people they otherwise would never have met.

The appointments fill up quickly throughout the season and the volunteer tax preparers are kept quite busy. Our volunteers set their own days within the program parameters. Dana, along with the other volunteers, enjoy being able to set hours that work for them. When asked what he would tell people considering volunteering Dana said, "The commitment to it doesn't have to be all that great". When asked what the most rewarding part of volunteering for the Taxpayer Assistance Program is, Dana said it is the satisfaction on people’s faces, the "thank you for what you do" they get daily from the general public. Knowing that people are appreciative of the time and effort put in is the payment volunteers get from this program, along with some baked goods from regular customers that are truly grateful for the volunteers to do programs like this; and really that is all the thanks they need.

Volunteers like Dana are truly one of a kind. If you are interested in becoming a Tax Assistance Program volunteer, please reach out to us here at RSVP/NVC. It is a challenging and rewarding way to give back to the community and those who need it the most. Thank you, Dana, and our other volunteers for all you do tax season and all year round!

Elaine Niemi


Elaine Niemi

Elaine Niemi has been volunteering for over 30 years in her community of Hibbing and brings fun with her wherever she goes. Elaine started in 2001, volunteering for the Hull Rust Mine View. The Mine View brings people from not only all over the country, but all over the world, to see how the Iron Range gets its nickname of “Grand Canyon of the North.” Elaine’s volunteer work doesn’t stop at the Mine View though, she has also volunteered for the hospital gift nook, the Hibbing Tourist Senior Center, where she was a board member for a few years, and Arrowhead RSVP’s Intergenerational Pen Pal Project.

Elaine has remembered so many of her kids from the Pen Pal Project throughout her many years, like Scott Perunovich, who now plays hockey for the St. Louis Blues, and remembers how he was such a nice boy growing up. The Intergenerational Pen Pal Project is a program where local senior volunteers write letters to middle school kids. At the end of the school year, we put on a Pen Pal Tea where the students and their corresponding pen pals finally get the chance to meet. Elaine has helped in taking on the role of organizing all the baked goods for the Hibbing tea party throughout the years where everything she brings is delicious and gone by the end of the party.

Elaine also enjoys taking part in the Bone Builder classes which are taught once a week at the Hibbing Tourist Senior Center as well. She says the classes help keep her bones moving and stay active. Elaine lives with her husband and is still having fun at 88 years old. If you are thinking about volunteering in your community, Elaine says to have fun and go for it! You will get the chance to meet so many new people and that has been a treat of its own for Elaine.

Jon Timepane


Jon Timpane

For Jon Timepane, volunteering is a way he gives back to his community and gives him a sense of purpose. Jon started volunteering for Meals on Wheels over 10 years ago in Hibbing. Jon figured he would maybe volunteer for a few months but after realizing the strong need of volunteers for the program, he decided to stick around a little longer and is still doing just that now at the age of 78. For some clients, volunteers like Jon are the only connection to the outside world as so many don’t have family members close by. Jon recalls a handful of times he has needed to call 911 for clients that have fallen or have been in distress. By checking in on clients during meal deliveries, volunteers also serve as a safety net and watchful eyes when there may be no one else. And that is something Jon takes seriously.

If there is one thing Jon wants people to know is, we need more volunteers. The need is there, the clients are there, now we need volunteers like Jon to respond to the call of action. Volunteering is a donation of your time, and the flexibility is there to pick as often or as little as you wish to volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels on the Iron Range, please call 218-735-6832 or for Meals on Wheels in Duluth, call 218-409-5991. To fill out an online volunteer application visit our website at:

Don Pederson


Don Pederson


At 85, Don Pederson is retiring from delivering Meals on Wheels in the Duluth area! Don was a realtor back in 1999 when he agreed to become involved in a project through the local realtors’ association to deliver Meals on Wheels. When the project “fizzled”, Don enjoyed it so much, he kept on volunteering. Back then he could not have imagined that he would still be volunteering 24 years later!

When asked what he liked most about delivering Meals on Wheels Don says, “Getting to know the people. They are all so interesting and everyone has a story to tell”. His compassion and genuine interest in people’s lives has endeared Don to many. Rain, shine or snowstorm, Don was a reliable presence in many people’s lives as he delivered the hot and nutritious meals that supported them and allowed them to remain in their own homes. He will be greatly missed not only by those on his route, but also by central kitchen staff who appreciated Don’s commitment to his volunteer work and enjoyed visiting with him before and after his route.

As people like Don retire and move on, AEOA’s Meals on Wheels program needs more volunteer drivers to fill their spots. If you have questions or would like to be a part of this very rewarding work in the Duluth area, call 218-409-5991. If you have questions or are available to help in Northern St. Louis County, call 218-780-5035.

Jon Timepane



Andrew Brunette has been delivering Meals on Wheels in the Duluth area for 6 years. Andy says that he always wanted to deliver Meals on Wheels, but never had the time while working. When he retired, he had enough time. He says when he saw the Mario Andretti ad on TV for Meals on Wheels, that drew him in. Mario Andretti, the auto racing legend, was not only the spokesman for Meals on Wheels for a time, but often delivered meals himself.

When asked what he likes best about delivering Meals on Wheels, Andy says it’s the people. “They look forward to your visit and you provide “an ounce of happiness” and a smile.” Andy says, “You build relationships over time that blossom. When I decided to volunteer, it was a commitment to me.”

Andy goes above and beyond and at Christmas time, he dresses like Santa while delivering meals and a treat. Andy’s enthusiasm is contagious and his future in-laws in San Diego have decided to deliver Meals on Wheels too. When asked what he would say to someone considering becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer, Andy says, “It’s very rewarding. You make new acquaintances and have the opportunity to meet people you would not normally meet. Plus, it fits easily into most people’s schedules.”

When he is not volunteering, Andy keeps busy with his five grandchildren, attending their games and activities. His wife is a fitness instructor, so they prioritize fitness and enjoy activities together like walking. Andy also volunteers at the Damiano Soup Kitchen and Union Gospel Mission.

Jacqueline, AEOA Meals on Wheels Coordinator says, “We have a great group of volunteers who, like Andy, are passionate about their work.” That sentiment is echoed by the Meals on Wheels recipients who frequently comment on how great the volunteers are. They also report that the food is very tasty.ple to know is, we need more volunteers.

Don Pederson


Gwen Lenz


In 1996, Gwen Lenz and her husband, Bill, moved from the Chicago area to Grand Marais to retire. Chicago and Grand Marais are many miles and worlds apart, but these two knew exactly what they were getting into. During their working years, they had vacationed in Grand Marais and loved the area.

A “doer” by nature, Gwen felt the need to get involved in her new community, so she placed an ad in the local paper saying that she was looking for volunteer opportunities. The Garden Club called and so began her community involvement and long career as a professional volunteer! In 2004 she began volunteering at the Cook County Food Shelf and soon became the coordinator. In 2016 she became involved with the quilters at the church she attended. In 2018, Gwen became actively involved at The Hub, the Cook County Senior Center, and Cook County Council on Aging. In 2020, Gwen began volunteering at the First and Second Thrifty Store. And she has also volunteered with the Tax Aide program for over 19 years. 

Gwen has been an Arrowhead RSVP volunteer since 2005, volunteering at several of our partnership sites listed above. She did not stop one volunteer commitment and then start another, but rather continued adding more and more activities and responsibilities to her already full plate. In 2022, Gwen was awarded the Lion's “Citizen of the Year” award for the many ways she has contributed to the Grand Marais community.

Gwen has an innate curiosity that keeps her deeply engaged with life and the world around her.  She says, “It’s a good day every time you learn something new!” When asked what she would say to encourage others to volunteer, Gwen says “Just ask and invite.” Some people need to hear, ‘You can do it!’ ”

Ginny Cooley



Virginia Cooley (Ginny) passed away in April 2024 after living an active, full life for almost 90 years. Ginny was born and raised in Arizona. She later moved to Chicago and then to St. Paul where she met her husband Fred and raised their family. Ginny and Fred moved up to the Tofte area more than 30 years ago and when Fred passed away 21 years ago, Ginny continued living alone in their home on the Sawbill Trail. Since Ginny lived in the country far from family, the community took her under its wing and watched over her. Ginny was independent and her zest for life and “can-do” attitude sustained her through the years.

Exercise and physical activity had always been important to Ginny throughout her life. She was already an RSVP volunteer when the then RSVP Coordinator talked to her about Bone Builders and asked if she would be interested in starting a class in Cook County. She jumped on board and called a couple friends to join her, holding a community meeting introducing the program in 2015.

Starting in 2015, Bone Builders is an osteoporosis prevention and reversal program that uses handheld weights and ankle weights as the core of the program. During the COVID-19 pandemic, classes were led remotely over Zoom. Ginny added resistance bands to her group’s routine which allowed members who were traveling to easily pack their equipment and continue to do regular exercise while away from the group. Ginny’s legacy lives on in those that continue leading Bone Builders classes in Cook County. Classes have expanded to include not only the original group that now meets at the Lutsen Town Hall, but also a new group formed in Grand Marais which was started through training and support from the current leaders at Lutsen.

A Celebration of Life for Ginny will be held this summer, complete with Mariachi Band (maybe just Mariachi music, but the spirit will be there) and purple flowers per her request. All who knew her miss her dearly.

Carolyn Dinneen


Gwen Lenz


After years of working in the human services industry, Carolyn Dinneen got to work in her own community of Virginia, Minnesota. Not quite one year after her husband’s passing and realizing she has one third of her life left to live, Carolyn started volunteering for the construction crew with Habitat for Humanity helping build their offices that are in Virginia. Unfortunately, two months later after a fall on the ice, Carolyn was injured and no longer able to be on the construction crew. By the time she was back on her feet she was on the Habitat for Humanity Board, along with five other committees.

Later, friends of Carolyn’s encouraged her to join the Rotary. She participated in the Rotary for three years and served on the Board for another two. In addition, she was on the Mesabi Humane Society Board for three years, while also working with Revive Virginia for the past six years working on downtown revitalization, but it doesn’t stop there. Carolyn also started volunteering at the Virginia Public Library for four years as well, which is where she learned about Arrowhead RSVP and all the volunteer opportunities available in the community.

Lately, Carolyn has been dedicating a lot of her time to the Virginia Elks Club and she is currently in her seventh year and recently helped prepare for their annual rummage sale. The last seven years, Carolyn has also been a pen pal for the Intergenerational Pen Pal Program, writing letters to fifth graders during the school year which is then followed by a Pen Pal Tea in the spring. To say Carolyn is a busy woman would be an understatement, but her passion for her community and giving back where she can, is what makes Carolyn stand out on top of her difficulty of saying the occasional no.

For Carolyn, volunteering is a way of giving back and meeting new people and the opportunity to use her skills from her almost 40 years in the human services industry. Some of her current work with Habitat for Humanity involves serving on the family selection committee, where she helps choose which families will be selected to build a house. But Carolyn’s best advice on playing an active role in your community is to start small and talk to people you already know that are doing something that might interest you, which is how Carolyn really got started with all her organizations she’s been a part of.

Carolyn has been a volunteer with Arrowhead RSVP for over 10 years and has dedicated over 1,100 volunteer hours towards our programs and our other nonprofit partners and she isn’t done yet. Carolyn continues her work at the Virginia Elks Club and Habitat for Humanity where she is always working on the next big project, but at 78 years old, she is starting to slow down. It is time for the next generation to step up and lead the way in our community to carry on the work like Carolyn has done for so long.





Kirsten Ryden

Arrowhead RSVP Coordinator Duluth, Lake, and Cook Counties

Phone 218-409-5991

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Heather Hanson

Arrowhead RSVP Program Support

Phone 218-735-6832

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Nicole Mellesmoen

Arrowhead RSVP Coordinator, North St. Louis County

Groceries to Go Coordinator


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