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Ann Daley column: New RSVP director announced

Ardis Lucken has been known as the America Reads Lady for 12 years, but her association with the Paul Bunyan Senior Activity Center goes back a long way before that.

In 199, she was hired for an inter-generational program involving Bi-Cap, Head Start and the Senior Center. When the grant money for that program ran, out she was asked to be the volunteer coordinator at the Senior Center for a couple of years. Then she took a little time off to be with her family. In 1998, the RSVP director recruited her to head up the America Reads Program. Ardis has been working with volunteers and the schools ever since.

"It was very gratifying to work with a program geared to helping children increase their reading skills and it was the ideal job for me," Ardis said. "I had summers off and was fortunate that my director always allowed me to put my family first. Thanks to the Senior Center and RSVP for the opportunity to be a part of such great agencies. I am blessed to have met many amazing people who volunteered their time to help make the program a success. I thank everyone for supporting me and my efforts with the program."

Ardis was always upbeat and enthusiastic about her program. She praised the volunteers for their work and made them feel really important. We will miss her.

Kjell Thompson is our new RSVP program coordinator.

Yes, Kjell is Scandinavian and yes, not only will she be our new RSVP America Reads lady, but she will also have additional responsibilities. RSVP and the Senior Center have had a partnership agreement for 30, years and it looks as if it is going to continue. And that's a good thing.

Kjell learned about the RSVP position through some friends who felt she had the skills and personality to fit the job. The program director agreed and she was hired.

"I am grateful for the opportunity," Kjell said. "I feel blessed and honored. I love people and feel strongly about community involvement. It fits with my values."

She said that although she knows very little about the job yet, she feels that she is a fast learner and has good communication skills. She said she is excited and enthusiastic about her new job.

Stop in and introduce yourself to Kjell. You will find her in the same location as Ardis was. Her hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. For information about the various RSVP programs, call Kjell at 751-8836 or

Ann Daley is a volunteer with the Paul Bunyan Senior Activity Center.