This unique program has brought together tens of thousands of needy children and loving retired adults who have all been deeply enriched by new relationships. We train and place senior volunteers in schools, non-profit childcare centers and other youth service organizations to help set children on the path to a successful future. And this Federal program pays a tax-free stipend to income-eligible retirees to help them afford to volunteer and make ends meet.
Our “Foster Grandparent” volunteers (must be age 55+) are trained by teachers and child-development experts in monthly workshops. They learn reading support methods and other skills to work with children needing extra attention to accomplish their academic goals, improve their behavioral or social skills, pre-school activities, emotional support, encouragement or nurturing.
Foster Grandparents serve regular, consistent hours at the same site, so they become highly valued members of the school team. Foster Grandparents provide assistance to children each week, receiving the love of the children and the respect of the teachers and staffs. Because of their consistency, they achieve considerable results with toddlers, children and youth. They also gain significant health benefits themselves by staying active and providing meaningful contributions to the children and communities.
The program is built to serve the needs of organizations as they educate and help children flourish, and the needs and choices of retired volunteers. Participants choose the age of children they enjoy most and the times they prefer to serve so they can continue to pursue other interests as well.
In addition to the stipend, volunteers receive mileage reimbursements for their travel to and from their volunteer site, meals at the site and paid time off. Monthly meetings provide guest speakers on topics ranging from issues facing children to senior wellness. Each year, volunteer service is recognized at special events.
Children who receive the consistent presence of Foster Grandparents often achieve significant progress in their educational, emotional and behavioral abilities. Volunteers enjoy the smiles and hugs of children, meaningful new community connections and the wholehearted appreciation of teachers. The whole program is a unique and wonderful winner for children, seniors, teachers and school systems.
Read more here about one teacher's appreciation for her Foster Grandparent.