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Archives Volunteers needed for foster grandparent program

Nov. 13, 2019

By Jessica Hargrave
Contributing writer

It’s a program that gives students mentors and grandparents a purpose.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Ogdensburg is hosting the Foster Grandparent Program, which allows volunteers age 55 and older the opportunity to provide emotional support, encouragement, and help with basic learning skills to children who need it.

The late Roy Foote who was a foster grandparent volunteer said the program kept him active at the age of 83.

“Sometimes when you get to be my age, you wake up and say ‘what good am I’ and along came the Foster Grandparent Program that keeps me going,” he said.

Volunteers who share their time and experience to help children learn how to read, prepare younger students for school readiness, tackle tough subjects and make decisions that will keep them on the right path.

The volunteers and kids enjoy each other’s company while coloring, making crafts, learning math and reading, even practicing how to tie shoes.

Catholic Charities Volunteer Coordinator, Melissa Howard said the program is a win-win situation.

“You are helping children with your presence each day and unhurried help,” she said.

The program currently has 40 volunteers and serves more than 100 kids per year in the North Country. Howard said there is always a need for volunteers in the region, especially in St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties, where volunteer numbers are lower.

While the benefits include friendship and education, volunteers receive a small non-taxable stipend bi-weekly that cannot be held against any current benefits. Volunteers also receive paid holidays, vacations, sick and personal leave.

If a volunteer has to travel to a volunteer site, he or she gets paid mileage.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, call the Catholic Charities Tupper Lake office at (518) 359-7688.

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