Community Notes: Charles City Foster Grandparent Program: Who we are
By Sarah Merrifield, Director, Foster Grandparent Program
You may have seen more articles lately about the Foster Grandparent Program in the Press due to our new marketing gal, Jen, but have you wondered, what exactly is the Foster Grandparent Program?
Do you really get to work with local youth in the day cares and classrooms?
We are a volunteer program made up of seniors, age 55 years or better, who have a passion for making a difference in children’s lives by helping them to become the best person they can be.
Volunteers work with students in schools with reading, spelling, math, social skills or just by being a consistent presence in these young people’s lives.
In day cares, volunteers rock babies, read to children, nurture and love them.
The Foster Grandparent Program vision (goal) is to assist students and teachers in a team approach to increase reading scores, social emotional development, and school engagement to increase their chances of success and achieve graduation.
The Foster Grandparent and youth will be brought together in ways that help each individual grow, both the senior and the student, and learn what it means to give, accept, mentor and gain understanding.
Our volunteers give 65,000 hours of service annually to the local area and the program been sponsored by the city of Charles City for the last 29 years.
Our program covers Chickasaw, Cerro Gordo, Floyd and Mitchell counties, and covers 22 different day cares and schools.
Last year because of our Foster Grandparents:
• 90% of school age students increased in all skills.
• 88% of 2-6 years old in improved in manners.
• 84% 2 to 6 years old improved in behavior.
• 77% 2 to 6 years old improved in focus level.
• 87% of 0 to 2 years old improved in their ability to engage and gestures.
• 98% of 0 to 2 years old improved in their ability to explore their environment.
Helping children has always been top priority! The program continually recruits grandparent volunteers to give the grandparent a rewarding experience and hopefully give the children a caring adult in their life.
Our program would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for the great support of our sponsor, the city of Charles City, and the dedication of our Foster Grandparents to the program.
If you are interested in becoming a Foster Grandparent or want to learn more about our program, please call Sarah Merrifield at 641-257-6327 or stop by the office at 624 N. Main St., Charles City.
We always welcome visitors and encourage anyone to stop in, meet the staff, and talk about our program!