St. Mary's Foster Grandparent Program of Mesa County is in need of volunteers to tutor kids at elementary schools throughout Mesa and Delta counties. Volunteers must be 55 or older; those who have limited incomes may qualify for a non-taxable stipend of $200-$400 per month based on hours served.
Nationally, the Foster Grandparent Program has received some well-deserved recognition. A recent edition of NBC Nightly News introduced viewers to Percy Thomas and Dorothy Campbell, two amazing volunteers. Thomas and Campbell are among the 28,000 foster grandparents nationwide who work with children and young people in schools and other community centers. Last year, volunteers age 55 and over contributed 24 million hours and served 232,200 young people across the country.
"Grandpa Thomas," as the students at Miner Elementary call him, leaves home early each morning to serve at the school, and he sums up his service in the following way: "I paid my dues. I take the things that I learned through life and give it back to somebody. If I didn't do that, I'd be home watching TV all day long. This is my family."
Tyrenea Sharpe, the teacher of the class where Thomas volunteers, told NBC, "There is something about a grandparent that you just can't explain. It's that nurturing spirit. And the children, they feel that."
Similarly, local schools and volunteers are seeing a difference as well. "My volunteer steps up and helps out when needed at any time," says one District 51 elementary school teacher. "She has made an impact working 1-1 with students. The students have gained a deeper understanding of math, greater reading comprehension, and are more skilled as writers because of her 1-1 support. She is a big part of the success in our classroom!" In a comparison evaluation of average student growth in one school year (based on 2011 NWEA Reading Scores), second graders in Mesa County who worked with a foster grandparent scored 25 growth points higher at the end of the year, versus 18 growth points higher for those without a foster grandparent.
Volunteers must be 55 years of age or older, relate well to children, and work well under the supervision of a teacher. Mileage reimbursement, free meal and wellness check are some of the benefits available. For more information, or to apply, contact Tanya Fink, program coordinator, at 263-9091, x6.blog comments powered by Disqus