Foster Grandparent Program connects seniors with children

Volunteers serve as classroom mentors and role models

The Foster Grandparent Program may be the perfect fit for you.

FGP is for men and women ages 55 and older who volunteer to spend time with children while earning an hourly stipend. Volunteers are assigned to classrooms at schools, Head Start programs or alternative education programs. There are volunteer opportunities in Juniata, Mifflin, Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties.

Foster grandparents work one-on-one or in groups with children who have special needs, but volunteers do not need to have prior experience. Volunteers complete an orientation training, which provides necessary information to fulfill the duties.

Foster grandparents serve in classrooms as mentors and role models, sharing love with students. They make a difference by tutoring the children in areas that teachers feel they need additional assistance.

Volunteer Leah Young has been with the FGP since 2001 and currently volunteers in Cheryl Rush’s Head Start classroom in Strodes Mills. Young and Rush have worked together for several years.

“Having Leah in our room is a huge help,” said Rush. “She always knows which kiddos need that extra hug or encouragement. I love seeing the children’s faces light up when they see her at the door to greet them.”

Foster grandparents earn an hourly tax-free stipend to offset the time they dedicate. They serve between 15 and 40 hours per week. Volunteers work with staff to create a weekly schedule that works best for their lifestyle. Volunteers receive paid vacation, allowing them to take time off, and volunteers are paid for holidays each year, so they can enjoy the time off while continuing to earn money.

Additionally, they receive meals from their site and share lunchtime with the children, getting to know them outside of the classroom. Foster grandparents also receive transportation assistance to and from their volunteer sites.

For more information or to learn how to apply, call the Foster Grandparent Program office at (570) 374-9196 or toll-free at 1 (866) 374-9196. The Foster Grandparent Program of Central PA is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Union/Snyder Agency on Aging Inc.