In 1979 First Lady Rosalynn Carter selected SSV as a model of the spirit of volunteerism.
The history of Springfield School Volunteers (SSV) can be traced back to one volunteer, Mrs. Evelyn Benedetti, who started volunteering in 1958. She helped develop and began volunteering in the library at the former Armory Street School. Ten years later, five women volunteered to organize the Tapley School Library and created an Advisory Council to recruit and train other volunteers to help establish libraries in every elementary school in the city.
In 1972 the Chamber of Commerce joined forces with SSV and sent a letter to its members seeking community volunteers. The response was great. Principals and curriculum supervisors were consulted, and teachers began to identify a variety of academic support needs. The Advisory Council went to work recruiting, training, and assigning volunteers to fill those needs.
In time, the need for a full-time, paid coordinator became evident, and Lee Newhouse was selected for the position. In 1975 Carol Kinsley replaced Lee, and in 1977 another new initiative brought Sally Wittenberg to SSV to oversee D.O.V.E.S., a program aimed at engaging older volunteers.During the following year a program for gifted and talented students was established and Helaine Sweet was hired to run it.
In 1979 First Lady Rosalynn Carter selected SSV as a model of the spirit of volunteerism, the first of many recognitions SSV would receive. In February of that year SSV was incorporated as a nonprofit organization and Mary Devlin served as the first president of the Incorporated Board.
Over the years SSV expanded to include other paid positions. Two of the early staff members, Helaine Sweet and Sally Wittenberg, eventually rose to the leadership position in the organization. In 2006, Denise Cogman followed suit, becoming the third staff member to advance to the role of Executive Director. SSV has remained a strong supporter of the Springfield Public Schools, developing programs in response to the diverse needs of the students and the district.