Foster Grandparents--a remarkable idea. If the world is full of special children, it also has millions of would-be grandmas and grandpas.

Begun in 1965, the Foster Grandparent Program is a program of the National Senior Service Corps (the federal volunteer agency) and of the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Portage County. The program is funded by federal and state grants.

Portage County Foster Grandparents assist in Head Start programs and in the county's school districts. The program seeks to match income-eligible older adults with children who need special help. The child's needs might be social, educational, emotional and/or physical. Foster Grandparents serve 15 to 20 hours per week and receive a number of tangible benefits. The intangible benefits are far greater, however. Foster Grandparents will tell you they receive far more than they give--that's the miracle of love given and love returned.

What are the requirements?
Foster Grandparents must:
•be age 55 or over
•meet income guidelines
•be in good health
•accept supervision as required
•have a love of children

What are the benefits?
Stipend: Non-taxable, not includable in income calculations relating to receipt of any other benefits.

Personal paid day off.

Transportation: Transportation or reimbursement for transportation to and from assignments and other official program activities when needed.

Meals: A meal while on assignment.

Medical Benefits: Annual physical examination.

Insurance: Accident, personal liability and excess auto coverage (for volunteers driving their own cars).

Recognition: Each Foster Grandparent is given recognition of his or her service to the community at least annually at a formal public recognition event.

Training: Each volunteer receives at least 40 hours of training and orientation to the program. In-service training sessions (four hours each month) build on and enhance skills and knowledge relative to volunteers' assignments and provide necessary support and advice.
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