January is National Mentoring Month

The word mentor often means “a wise and responsible tutor” or “an experienced person who advises, guides, teaches, inspires, challenges, and serves as a model”. All this and more can be said about Foster Grandparent volunteers.
More than a half of a million adult Americans serve as volunteers through the AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer programs. Engaging Americans to strengthen their communities through volunteer service is the primary role of the AmeriCorps, which encourages Americans to give back through the primary national service programs of AmeriCorps Seniors and AmeriCorps. Southwest Wisconsin has a AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer program, The Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) which taps into the skills, talents, and experience of adults 55 and older. Locally, the Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program (Southwest CAP) sponsors the FGP volunteer program in Green, Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, Sauk, Vernon, and Crawford counties.
Volunteers of the FGP assist their communities by volunteering at approved sites such as schools, after-school programs, family enhancement programs, not-for profit daycare agencies, and other qualified youth programs. Unlike foster care, children are not placed in a volunteer’s home. Foster Grandparent volunteers, under the supervision of host station staff, volunteer as classroom helpers to provide supportive activities such as assisting with reading, math skills, social skills, or other areas where children may be challenged to keep pace with their peers. To off-set the cost of volunteering qualified FG volunteers who meet FGP income and program guidelines receive a modest tax free hourly payment which does not affect income sensitive programs such as housing and SSI. Additional benefits include a meal and travel allowance. Most volunteers agree the best benefit is the satisfaction of interacting with and helping children and youth of the community.
Is your New Year’s resolution to help others in your community? Want to learn more about volunteering for the Foster Grandparent Program? Just contact FGP at SWCAP, 149 North Iowa Street, Dodgeville, WI 53533. You may also e-mail fostergrandparents@swcap.org or call 1-800-704-8555 extension 209. Additional information on the Foster Grandparent Program is available at https://swcap.org or https://americorps.gov.