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Foster Grandparents looking for more volunteer members

Foster Grandparents looking for more volunteer members
More than 60 Foster Grandparents volunteers and Charles City Foster Grandparents staff gather at the NIACC Center Thursday for inservice training and a get together before the beginning of the new school year. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson,

It was a sea of red jackets as more than 60 Foster Grandparents gathered Thursday at the Charles City NIACC Center for an annual day of training and getting ready for the new school year.

The Foster Grandparent volunteers provide help at almost two dozen school and child care sites in Floyd, Chickasaw, Cerro Gordo and Mitchell counties.

Colleen Ortmeyer, the Foster Grandparents coordinator and office assistant, said there were 62 people who showed up Wednesday.

That was down some from previous years, and both Ortmeyer and Foster Grandparents Field Coordinator Jean Boley urged anyone interested in joining the program to contact the Foster Grandparents office at 641-257-6327.

Foster Grandparents help youngsters with extra attention in academic areas such as reading, math or spelling, but, often just as importantly, they help with social skills and provide an extra kind, stable adult presence in their lives.

Foster Grandparents regularly tell stories of meeting their young friends in public and being greeted with a warm hug and a hearty, “Hi, Grandma.”

The Charles City-based Foster Grandparent program is the oldest and largest Foster Grandparent program in the state. It serves 22 mostly grade school and child care sites in Charles City, Clear Lake, Marble Rock, Mason City, Nashua, New Hampton, Nora Springs, Osage, Rockford, Rudd and St. Ansgar.

To be eligible for the Foster Grandparent Program you must be at least 55, be willing to volunteer at least 15 hours a week, pass a background check and like being with and helping children.