The RSVP Dauphin County Volunteer of the Month for February is Bernadette Rhodes. She has volunteered at Steelton-Highspire Middle and Senior High schools in the Garden of Youth for six years.
Rhodes was born in Harrisburg and graduated from East Stroudsburg University with degrees in psychology and education. She is currently working on her master’s degree. In 1999 she was hired at Steel-High as a special education teacher.
In addition to helping install the pond and provide plants around it, Rhodes, the students, and Rick Sayles, RSVP Dauphin County cross-generational coordinator, plan Earth Day activities that include germinating flower seeds, cleaning and preparing for the growing season, planting seedlings, weeding, and trimming.
Rhodes drives a van for field trips to Strites Orchard to glean their fields, which provides fresh produce to students and a good quantity of food for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank; more than 1,000 pounds were donated last year.
“I love working with the students and watching their excitement as their boxes start producing,” Rhodes said. “Every eggplant, watermelon, and zucchini is celebrated with a shout of, ‘Ms. Rhodes, come see my eggplant!’”
Rhodes has volunteered in several other programs: church nursery, Girl Scouts, PTA, and twice as a science fair co-chair.
Although volunteering comes with the added responsibility of people counting on her, Rhodes considers herself rich in the rewards that come with the commitment.
For further information about RSVP’s volunteer opportunities in Dauphin County, contact Sayles at (717) 541-9521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.