Project Concerns Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) enables children with either exceptional or special needs to achieve improved physical, mental, emotional, and social development while providing Senior Citizens an enriching and rewarding volunteer experience.
Through the program, Foster Grandparent volunteers mentor elementary school students to improve reading, math or spelling skills, offer emotional support to children who have been abused and neglected, mentor troubled teenagers, and care for infants and children with physical and developmental disabilities. In the process, Foster Grandparents strengthen the community by providing valuable youth services and by building bridges across generations.
The Foster Grandparent Program began on August 28, 1965 as a national demonstration effort to show how low income persons aged 50 or over have the maturity and experience to establish a personal relationship with children having either exceptional or special needs. The program quickly revealed the positive impact these thriving older Americans have on children with either exceptional or special needs, and grew in scope.
The Dubuque Foster Grandparent Program became an independent program in 1974 and Project Concern became the sponsor. The Foster Grandparent Program is facilitated by the federal agency, Corporation for National and Community Service, which was created in 1993. Foster Grandparent programs exist in other communities throughout Iowa and the United States, each being operated and supported by their local non-profit agencies.
Seniors age 55 and older are eligible to become Foster Grandparents if they meet income guidelines, pass a criminal background check and a national sex offender registry check, are available to serve a minimum of 15 hours per week, and enjoy children.
Foster Grandparents serve a minimum of 15 hours per week in community-based organizations such as elementary schools, hospitals, day care programs, after-school programs and Head Start programs. In return, they receive a modest tax-free stipend, transportation assistance, a daily meal during service, an annual physical examination, supplemental insurance coverage while serving, paid time off and more.
Volunteers are required to attend 20 hours of pre-service orientation. Additionally, foster grandparents attend a monthly in-service training approximately 4 hours in length. Foster grandparents are paid for all time spent in training.
How to Become a Foster Grandparent
To join the Dubuque Area Foster Grandparent Program or to learn more, please contact the Foster Grandparent Program Coordinator, Stacy Martin, at 563-588-3980 / 866-220-2642, or firstname.lastname@example.org.