Foster Grandparent Program


BECOME A FOSTER GRANDPARENT!

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 47 active senior citizens in the program volunteering in 1 nonprofit daycare, 2 head start programs, 16 elementary schools, and 2 after school programs in Calcasieu, Acadia, Vernon, and Jeff Davis Parishes. They receive a small non-taxable stipend of $3.00 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.

WHAT DOES A FOSTER GRANDPARENT DO?

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.

REQUIREMENTS

Those interested in becoming a Foster Grandparent must be 55 years or older, capable of working a minimum of 20 hours/week unless non-stipended, physically able to work with children in a classroom setting, be able to pass a background check, and meet income guidelines to receive a stipend. If an applicant doesn't meet income guidelines and still want to join, they are welcome to apply.

PROCESS

Call or email Kathy Richard, Foster Grandparent Program Director, at [email protected] / office: 337-478-5437, ext. 104 / cell: 337-707-4183 for an application and discussion about the program.

3-tier background checks scheduled (State, FBI fingerprinting, and Sex Offender Register)

Verification of income, physician's statement and TB test must be turned in before working in schools

Complete 20 hours of orientation training once background checks have been cleared.

Upon completion of training and all paperwork, stations will be appointed to begin work. 

NON-STIPEND VOLUNTEERS

Those interested in becoming a non-stipend volunteer are retirees of higher education that are able to help children who are more challenged in reading and math. Non-stipend volunteers only have to work a minimum of 7 hours weekly and do not receive anything for their service except recognition for time served in the Foster Grandparent Program. Process for non-stipend volunteers is the same as stipend volunteers. See above list. Background checks and physical reimbursements are paid for by the program. 

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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