The adoptive grandparents program is gearing up for the next school year. Last year, 61 volunteers served 162 children in classrooms, daycares and Head Start sites across the state. 672 additional students were positively affected by the presence of an adoptive grandparent on their site.
Tamar Mathieu, Director of Family Enrichment Services at Penquis, said: “While there have been many challenges this year due to COVID-19, Penquis management and staff have remained focused and committed to our goal of supporting our volunteers and serve the children of Maine. We have become adept at meeting challenges by maintaining contact with our volunteers through phone calls, Zoom calls, emails and meetings. Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, as well as the support of AmeriCorps Elders, our foster grandparent program continues to be strong and viable, ”according to a press release from the organization.
Penquis FGP provides quality early learning experiences to eligible children in Maine, supporting intellectual / emotional and social development as well as promoting school readiness. For more than 35 years, the Foster Grandparent program has provided opportunities in 14 counties of Maine for adults aged 55 and over with income to get involved in their community by sharing their time with children who receive additional educational support. . The program also offers a stipend to its volunteers, allowing them to meet the expenses of accommodation, food, car and miscellaneous, and helping to increase their financial stability.
Volunteers work approximately 15 to 40 hours per week with children aged 6 weeks to 21 years who have disabilities, emotional issues, a history of abuse or neglect, or who have been affected by poverty, language barriers or other social, developmental and academic challenges. Foster grandparents are role models who read, coach and mentor children to improve social and emotional development, school engagement, and academic skills, providing support and comfort that puts children on the path to success. a prosperous future.
In May, the Penquis Foster Grandparent Program received a one-year stipend of $ 5,000 from Centraide de la Vallée de Kennebec. The funds come from the agency’s Community Care Fund and will allow Penquis to directly serve 24 youth in southern Kennebec County. 69.8% of children under 6 all have parents available in the labor market, who rely on childcare / preschool programs to prepare their children for kindergarten.
Maria Staples, Director of the Foster Grandparent Program, says, “United Way of Kennebec Valley recognizes the importance of creating intergenerational bonds that enhance children’s confidence, academic skills and sense of belonging and support physical well-being, emotional and financial issues of adults. 55 and over through volunteering and community involvement with the Penquis Foster Grandparent Program.
To learn more about the program and volunteer opportunities, contact Maria Staples at 207-973-3611 or [email protected].