The Foster Grandparent Program is part of Senior Corps, a network of national service programs that provide older Americans the opportunity to volunteer for a child and put their life experiences to work in our local communities. When you share your love, time, and experience, you have the power to help a child who needs you. As a Foster Grandparent, you’re a role model, a mentor, and a friend. Serving at one of thousands of local organizations—including faith-based groups, Head Start Centers, schools, and other youth facilities—you help children learn to read, provide one-on-one tutoring, and guide children at a critical time in their lives. Put simply, you give the kind of comfort and love that sets a child on the path toward a successful future.
About Us—Our History:
The Foster Grandparent Program is an intergenerational volunteer program that provides valuable aid to children with special and exceptional needs. The Program has a dual purpose – to enhance the lives of children with special needs through a caring relationship and to provide a high quality experience that enriches the lives of the volunteers and the children they serve.
The Program began August 28, 1965 as a national demonstration effort to show how income-eligible persons age 55 or over have the maturity and experience to establish personal relationships with children having either exceptional or special needs.
The primary goals of the Foster Grandparent Program are to:
The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, is responsible for the oversight of the Foster Grandparent Programs. Nationally, there are over 350 Foster Grandparent Programs with more than 35,000 Foster Grandparent volunteers.
The Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Inc. was selected as one of 25 applicants from around the country to implement a Foster Grandparent Program in Palm Beach County in 1997. The original goal was to recruit and train 35 income-eligible senior volunteers to serve as tutors, mentors and reading coaches to children with special and/or exceptional needs. By October of 1998, 41 Foster Grandparents were volunteering in 20 schools and/or Head Start programs.
Currently the Foster Grandparent Program of Your Aging Resource Center has over 150 Foster Grandparent volunteers who serve more than 475 children with special needs in 59 volunteer sites.
Current funding sources include the Corporation for National and Community Service, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Children’s Services Council of Okeechobee County and United Way of Okeechobee County. Other support comes from local partnerships, contributions, and from the sites where Foster Grandparents serve.
Who is Eligible:
If you have time to give (minimum 15 hours per week), are 55 years or older, in good physical and mental health, can pass a background screening, enjoy working with children and genuinely respect children, and no longer be employed in the workforce.
Foster Grandparents receive the following benefits:
Volunteer Opportunities and Sites:
Foster Grandparents are assigned to Head Start Programs and Public Schools.
Foster grandparents assist in the development of motor skills, self care, learning skills and independence. They serve as mentors and tutors to special need children. In addition they restore and reinforce a sense of community and family value in the children.
Funding and Community Partners
|Corporation for National and Community Service||St. Lucie County School District|
|Children Services Council of Palm Beach||Okeechobee County School District|
|Children Services Council of Okeechobee||Palm Beach County Head Start|
|Palm Beach County School District||United Way of Palm Beach County|
|Martin County School District||Lutheran Services of Florida|
|Sara Humphries, Project Director|
|Rose Rosino, Volunteer Coordinator|
|Shana Welsh, Volunteer Coordinator|
|Veronica Bettard-Ricketts, Volunteer Coordinator|
Remember: When you volunteer, you’re not just helping others—you’re helping yourself. Volunteering leads to new discoveries and new friends. Studies also show that volunteering helps you live longer and promote a positive outlook on life.