These 18 smiling senior citizens are Montgomery County’s newly trained foster grandparents
EAGLEVILLE PA – Two residents of Spring City, and four from Pottstown, are among 18 Montgomery County seniors who recently completed training to become the newest volunteers of the county Family Services’ Foster Grandparent Program.
The local volunteers are Michael Rushton and Sandra Gelet, both of Spring City; and Mary Gatta, Mary Jackson, Alethia Knox, and Jacqueline Washington, all of Pottstown. Their remaining colleagues are from Norristown, Telford, Bala Cynwyd, Hatfield, Ardmore, Willow Grove, East Norriton, Plymouth Meeting, Elkins Park, and Ambler.
Family Services, which is headquartered in Eagleville, also operates offices on East High Street in Sanatoga.
The program provides volunteer opportunities for limited-income seniors age 55 and older to tutor and mentor children who need extra assistance. Foster grandparent volunteers are matched with children who may be developmentally delayed, physically disabled, homeless, abused, neglected, delinquent, learning disabled, or impoverished.
These children are able to increase academic proficiency, improve self-esteem and develop higher-level coping skills through the consistent nurturing and guidance provided by foster grandparents, according to Tricia Reedy Jones, director of senior volunteer programs.
Currently, the program has 80 foster grandparents who mentor children at more than 45 sites across the county. During 2015, foster grandparents provided 97,915 hours of volunteer service to children in child care centers, Head Start programs, elementary schools, and alternate schools.
Those interested in becoming a foster grandparent must be a county resident age 55 or older, meet minimum income requirements, and enjoy working with children and youth. All volunteer foster grandparents receive a modest, tax-free stipend for a minimum of 15 hours of service weekly; paid holiday, sick and vacation leave; and periodic training. For more information, call Jones at 610-630-0201 or send her an e-mail, here.
Photo from Montgomery County Family Services