As we think back to the last 17 months of our lives we were required to isolate and stay clear of social involvement with others. Now that many of us have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, and many of the isolation restrictions have been lifted, we are ready to get involved. I know that I have just been thrilled to see people and spend time out and about. I know that I have also had some difficulties initiating that reconnection.

I understand your desire to get out, get involved and be productive with a purpose.

AmeriCorps Seniors is an area I would encourage you to take a look at and especially the Lutheran Foster Grandparent Program, also known as FGP.

The purpose of the AmeriCorps Seniors FGP is to provide supportive, person to person service to children with exceptional or special needs in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties.  To be a Foster Grandparent, men and women over the age of 55 must be income eligible and in good physical/mental health.  Individuals suited for the program must enjoy being among children and possess the desire to enrich their lives when called upon.

What does a Foster Grandparent do?  This programs allows you to work in a school system or a day care setting. Volunteer as little as 15 hours per week on average (minimum of 5 hour increments) or up to 40 hours under supervision – offer assistance, support, love and motivation to children in need – collaborate, support and reinforce basic learning and self-care skills and enrich the lives of children in our community.

What do FGP volunteers receive?  Travel assistance to volunteer site – accident insurance while volunteering – hourly tax-exempt stipend – paid orientation and monthly training – meal provided during volunteer days – new friendships and sense of purpose.

You can make a difference in the lives of others at the same time making a positive difference in your life as well. To find out more about the program, please contact the AmeriCorps Seniors FGP program at 665-5354 or look them up at

The staff is eager to work with you and your local school children to make everyone’s life better.

I have seen the Foster Grandparent Program make a significant difference in many lives. The Foster Grandparents positively influence the lives of the children in our community. The children are given the extra attention and positive influence that will encourage them to be successful. For an individual who is the Foster Grandparent, they see the benefits of being needed and appreciated. The teachers welcome the extra set of hands in the classroom.

The school year is just beginning, the perfect time to begin this new opportunity for you!