MORRISTOWN-Are you a grandparent who loves spending time with children? Union Local Elementary School and the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD) are looking for you.
COAD's Foster Grandparent Program needs five volunteers to work with grade school children who need a little extra attention. Grandparents will work under the teacher's direction in the classroom. Tasks might include reading to the children, helping them with math problems or colors, teaching them to tie shoe laces or just spending a little extra time with them. Students identified by the school may have a difficult time at home or be a little shy. Some children may live away from their own grandparents.
Though the grandparents are technically volunteers, they do receive a small stipend and mileage reimbursement from the program, which does not affect income or benefits in any way. Volunteers spend 20 to 40 hours per week at their sites and attend monthly training meetings. There is also an annual volunteer recognition ceremony. Program volunteers have the opportunity to attend classes at Belmont Technical College's Cadiz campus at no charge and work toward an Associate degree in Early Childcare.
Wanneta Horn, center with book, has been a Foster Grandparent for four years at the HARCATUS Head Start in Cadiz. She's surrounded by Jarrett, Lorelei, Cameron, Elena, Emily, Holly, Addyson, teacher Miss Luann Mallernee, Landon, Darshawn and Brenyn.
The Union Local program is just beginning, and they are looking for at least five grandparents. The full COAD Area 1 Foster Grandparent Program covers schools, daycares and juvenile facilities in Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties with 74 active volunteers from ages 55 to 93 and 20 new applicants in the orientation process. The Union Local program will be the first site in Belmont County.
COAD has been administering the Foster Grandparent Program in Ohio since its inception in 1972, a product of Lyndon B. Johnson's administration. Today it is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Services (federal) and the Ohio Department of Aging. Many sites receive donations local to their respective areas.
To find out more about the Foster Grandparent Program, contact Kirk Guisti, COAD Area 1 Coordinator, by phone at 330-987-7232 or 740-942-8886 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.