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Community Notes: Foster Grandparents program benefits children, volunteers

By Jennifer Lantz, Director, Foster Grandparents

As January comes to a close, we also finish our National Mentoring Month celebration. I am happy to report our Foster Grandparents have been working with the children in the area helping them grow socially, emotionally and academically.

The Foster Grandparents have served over 16,000 hours to the area children since the beginning of the school year.

The program has seen many changes over the years, but one thing that stays the same: the love our Foster Grandparents share every day is making a difference in the children’s lives and bridging the generational gap.

We have older citizens who are helping with better test results for the children while they are not suffering from loneliness, isolation and feeling like they are making a difference not only in their lives but also at the schools and day cares which they serve.

We are currently looking for more Foster Grandparents to serve as caregivers to babies all the way up to high school students who need a mentor in their lives.

Studies show one out of three children grow up without a needed mentor and struggle because of that fact. We want to close that gap in our rural area since the need is greater.

So many children are living in poverty, abused and have disabilities in our area, and our Foster Grandparents have the desire to be involved in their lives, respect the children, actively listen to what the child has to say and show empathy when it is needed.

While our Foster Grandparents help the area children, they also have the chance to meet other Foster Grandparents at our In-Service meetings, recognition events and our annual trip. These meetings provide education about the children they serve while learning about what they need to know personally like scam safety, Medicare and much more.

We have two recognition events every year – Foster Grandparent Program Winter Dinner in December and our Foster Grandparent Program Appreciation in April.

These events are fun ways to celebrate the great work our Foster Grandparents do every year while celebrating our Foster Grandparent of the Year which will be announced in April!

These events are made possible by the many donors throughout the area we are grateful for every year. We could not do it without their continued support.

So, what is your next chapter? Are you willing to give at least 5 hours a week to children who need a mentor? Are you over 55 years of age and wanting to be something bigger than yourself?

The Foster Grandparent Program will train future Grandparents what is expected and needed at the sites. We provide continued education throughout the year to help our Foster Grandparents be the best they can be to every child.

Contact me today to see how your next chapter could change your life along with the children who need you! Call 641-257-6327 to become a Foster Grandparent today or if you are in need of a Foster Grandparent at your school or day care.

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