The Foster Grandparent Program provides grants to qualified agencies and organizations for the dual purpose of engaging persons 55 or older, with limited incomes, in volunteer service to meet critical community needs and to provide a high quality volunteer experience that will enrich the lives of the volunteers. Program funds are used to support Foster Grandparents in providing supportive, person to person service to children with exceptional or special needs.
Foster Grandparents must be at least 55 years of age and meet certain income-eligibility requirements. They serve an average of 20 hours per week. Foster Grandparents participate in pre-service orientation and are provided in-service training throughout their service. They receive a stipend to offset the cost of volunteering as well as reimbursement for transportation, some meals during service, an annual physical, and supplemental insurance while on duty.
A new independent report sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service offers some good news: Senior Corps provide the access, structure, and financial support for low-income, at-risk Americans 55 and older to live happier, healthier lives while making a difference in their communities.
Each year, Senior Corps engages more than 200,000 older adults in service through its Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion, and RSVP programs, enriching their own lives and benefiting the communities they serve.
Research shows that volunteering is good for the health and well-being of volunteers. But for older Americans with low-incomes and lower levels of education, a group vulnerable to poor health outcomes, many obstacles can make it difficult to volunteer. As a result, these individuals may miss out on the health and well-being benefits of volunteering, and communities may miss out on the volunteer service these individuals provide.
Comparing baseline scores with a second-year follow-up, Senior Corps volunteers were healthier, less depressed, and less socially isolated than those who did not serve:
Less Socially Isolated
88 percent reported fewer feelings of isolation
84 percent reported stable or improving health
78 percent reported fewer symptoms of depression
Foster Grandparents are role models, mentors, and friends to children with exceptional needs. The program provides a way for volunteers age 55 and over to stay active by serving children and youth in their communities.
Volunteers serve at thousands of local organizations that: