Lutheran Foster Grandparent Program received funds from the New York state Office for the Aging. The funds were designated for mentoring kits to be used by Foster Grandparent volunteers while serving with their assigned children. Foster Grandparents work one-on-one with children who may benefit from the direct attention of an adult. During a typical school year, around 70 Foster Grandparents are placed in schools, Project Head Starts, or pre-elementary sites within the three counties of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. This year, several Foster Grandparents requested summer volunteer placements. FGP approached the Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown seeking placements for our volunteers. Summer camp was a perfect assignment. Through the years, FGP has discovered it would be useful if Foster Grandparents had some good tools or resources. These tools are especially beneficial for our Foster Grandparents when they are not working in a structured classroom setting or when working independently with their assigned student within a classroom. The Mentoring Kits better prepare volunteers to work with children. The kits not only included books, but are equipped with "think sheets" and activities to quiz the children after the Foster Grandparents read the stories aloud. The sheets are handy to better understand the child's comprehension of what is being read to them. The books selected were from the "My Books Summer" program created by Scholastic.
Books were read to groups by the Foster Grandparents or independently by the older children. Attention was given to match the books with the appropriate weekly camp themes such as Science Week, Mystery Week or Animal Week. The camp coordinated the children's reading schedules so they could participate in the James Prendergast Library Summer Reading Program, with each child being credited for their reading time. The Mentoring Kits have shown to be a wonderful resource for our Foster Grandparents. FGP is grateful to NYS Office for the Aging who funded these great tools for program participants so they may better serve the children in our community.
Centered in the above photo is Foster Grandma Marvena McClinton. McClinton, a veteran volunteer, has worked with the program for 10 years and so far has served almost 10,000 hours. She currently works one-on-one with assigned children during the school year at Love School. McClinton decided she needed something to do during the summer, so when FGP approached the staff at the Boys and Girls Club, she was welcomed. Greg Greendahl and Larry Dupere worked with the children at the camp as well.
Foster Grandparent Program is one of the three Senior Corps projects governed under the federal agency, the Corporation for National & Community Service. Lutheran has been the local sponsor since 1983. Do you or someone you may know interested in being a positive role model in a child's life? If so, please consider calling Gwen Gatewood, FGP project coordinator at 665-5354 for more information. If you are age and income eligible, you may qualify for a tax-free stipend, plus the rewards of helping a child be successful in school.