Foster Grandparent Program


Foster Grandparent Program

The Foster Grandparent Program was developed in 1965 as a cooperative effort between the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health Education and Welfare (HEW) in Washington, D.C. The Foster Grandparent Program moved to the Lake Area in the fall of 1999. Its purpose is to enable low-income senior citizens, ages 55 and older, to supplement their income in a meaningful way by providing volunteer service to special-needs children. The program is funded by a federal grant through the Corporation for National and Community Service and is sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWLA.

We currently have 71 active senior citizens in the program volunteering in 1 daycare, 2 head start programs, 17 elementary schools and 2 after school programs in Calcasieu, Acadia, Vernon, and Jeff Davis Parishes. They receive a small non-taxable stipend of $2.65 per hour, which does not affect any government benefits that they may be receiving and can work 20 to 40 hours per week. Mileage reimbursement is given if they drive their own vehicle to their station and they received paid time off for holidays as well as accruing personal hours monthly.

The Foster Grandparents work with children one-on-one, helping those who are struggling with reading and math with the intention of helping them to reach grade level by grade three and to reach the “Above Basic” level on Leap and iLeap standardized tests. Along with the practical hands-on work, the grandparents also help to boost the self-esteem and self-confidence of the children that they are working with by continually praising their efforts and accomplishments, no matter how small that effort or accomplishment might be. For many of the children they work with, this praise may be the only praise they receive throughout their day, with the exception of their teachers.

Helping children reach their full potential and eventually realize their dreams is the goal of our teachers and parents. The Foster Grandparents work beside these people and give the extra support and help that some children desperately need. For a child that is struggling to learn, what a wonderful thing it is for them to have a foster grandparent to sit with them while they work, not to judge but to encourage and help them to strive.

Visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website at www.CNCS.gov to read more about the Foster Grandparent Program. You can also follow us on Facebook!

Other Ways to Get Involved

Whether you get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a donor, potential Big Brother or Big Sister, partner, advocate, or family member, you have the power to change a child's future for the better. 

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