Thursday, May 25, 2000

Volunteers aid peace bell

They serve as guides in one of center's programs

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Virginia Bennett has an extensive history with Brighton Center and the World Peace Bell, so it's no surprise she's a guide at the bell as part of Brighton's RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program).

        It's also typical of the assistance that Brighton Center, Northern Kentucky's largest service agency, delivers throughout the three-county area. When World Peace Bell officials began looking for volunteers, Brighton's RSVP seniors were ready.

        Ms. Bennett, a Newport native in her mid-70s whonow lives in Covington, last year was a volunteer when the bell was on display during Tall Stacks, and at the bell's New Year's Eve celebration.

        Bill Barnes, another Newport resident and former business owner, joined other RSVP members for a few hours a week at the World Peace Bell exhibition and museum building.

        “They have all said they find the work very interesting, and they're enjoying it,” said Brighton Center's Dea tra Loar, who works with the RSVP group.

        The seniors from Brighton assist visitors to the World Peace Bell and answer questions about the 33-ton bell and the exhibit area. They had a training session last week.

        Mr. Barnes said one of his experiences wasn't covered in the training session: being asked to take pictures of visiting groups. “I didn't know I'd be a photographer, too,” he said.

        RSVP is one of dozens of services Brighton Center provides the Northern Kentucky community. Brighton Center offers assistance and services for seniors, youth, low-income families and indi viduals, and employment training.

        Programs that reach into Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties include:

        • Child Development: a child care center, a family day care satellite program, coordinated day care intakeand state child care assistance.

        • Community Development: affordable housing, community organizing and youth leadership.

        • Employment Training Network.

        • Youth Services: Homeward Bound Runaway Shelter, independent living programs, family preservation and reunification, and Project Safe Place.


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