Foster Grandparents Program
Are you looking for a way to connect with children, to make a positive impact that can last for the rest of a child’s life?
The Foster Grandparents Program through Homage Senior Services is a mentoring program designed to pair seniors with children. For more than 50 years, Foster Grandparents have been helping millions of kids in all 50 states.
Homage is currently looking for Foster Grandparents who live in King and Snohomish Counties to volunteer online in school classrooms and other nonprofit settings, providing support and mentoring to children. Prior to Covid-19, volunteers were serving in-person but due to safety precautions all volunteers are serving remotely in classrooms. Volunteers will return to in-person service once safe to do so.
The Foster Grandparent program was piloted on August 28, 1965 to encourage low-income older adults to participate in community service. After 55 years, this ground-breaking program is still going strong, providing much needed support in classrooms and nonprofit programs, enriching the lives of children as well as the lives of the volunteers.
Adelheid Arbogast, coordinating director of the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) of Homage Senior Services, compared FGP to the mentoring program that Big Brothers Big Sisters provides, but instead of meeting at people’s homes, the volunteers meet at schools and daycares ( with Covid-19, they are serving exclusively online). The program is funded by a federal grant via AmeriCorps Seniors administered through Homage Senior Services, an organization that promotes independence, preserves dignity, and enhances the quality of life for older adults and people with disabilities.
Adelheid says, “We regularly hear about what a positive impact our Foster Grandparent Volunteers are making in the classrooms, especially during these extraordinary times. It’s such a mutually beneficial experience because the teachers get extra support, the students get additional help and, in return, the volunteer feels richly rewarded for being of service. It really is a win-win for everyone involved.”
The benefits of the program for the teachers, children and volunteers are varied and monumental. Foster Grandparents often report that because of the program they have a new purpose in life and a sense of accomplishment. Teachers say Foster Grandparents provide students with the extra one-on-one academic help they need as well as the support to succeed academically and socially.
An example of the impact this program has had on the children and volunteers can be seen in a short, heart-warming video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAWWjLDAjno
Qualifying low-income volunteers who meet income eligibility receive a non-taxable hourly stipend (which does not affect any benefits you may receive) and mileage reimbursement. Foster Grandparents receive background checks, pre-service and ongoing training, as well as recognition for their service. To become a Foster Grandparent Volunteer, you must live in King or Snohomish County, be at least 55 years old, be low income ($2147/ month or less for a single person household and $2903/month or less for a two-person household) and available to volunteer at least 8 hours per week.
Foster Grandparents go through an application process, orientation and training prior to being matched with children.
For more information on the Foster Grandparent program, contact Adelheid Arbogast at 425-514-3188, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.homage.org/health-wellness/foster-grandparent-program.