Foster grandparent program reaches out to kidsWhat do being a college professor, bus driver, lunch lady, hairdresser and stay-at-home mom have in common? All of these experiences can prepare someone to become a foster grandparent.
What do being a college professor, bus driver, lunch lady, hairdresser and stay-at-home mom have in common? All of these experiences can prepare someone to become a foster grandparent.
The Central Minnesota Foster Grandparent Program consists of people age 55 or older with many different career paths and education levels. Each individual has his or her own personal touch to add to the program, making the experiences rewarding and unique.
Although foster grandparents are in a different role than a teacher or paraprofessional, they are a very important part of the children's day. Foster grandparents provide additional attention, encouragement and mentoring to the children who need it most.
"Our foster grandparents provide smiles, encouragement, role-modeling and patience, while giving that special love that is generations wise," said Stacy Lund, program director. "Foster grandparents are tutors as well as mentors for the children. The children thrive with this type of supportive relationship."
Lund pointed out that foster grandparents also benefit, knowing that they are needed and valued by the children and their parents, as well as the staff at their volunteer site. Foster grandparents often say that the program gives them a reason to get up in the morning because it provides purpose and fulfillment. Many wish they would have joined years earlier.
Foster grandparents volunteer a minimum of 15 hours per week and receive a small, tax-free stipend. Other benefits include transportation, a daily lunch, education and training, paid vacation and sick leave, recognition and social activities.
To volunteer to be a foster grandparent, call Pat Scherf at (320) 293-0682. Foster grandparents are especially needed for the Head Start and elementary schools of Morris, Glenwood, Alexandria, Brandon, Carlos and Miltona.