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Letter to the Editor: Senior volunteers are ‘Making a Difference for Generations’

Every day, around the country, seniors are making a difference in their local communities – volunteering in schools, assisting with disaster relief, helping frail elders with daily tasks, and much more. 

These volunteers, members of Senior Corps, are truly “Making a Difference for Generations.”

Their accomplishments are to be recognized during Senior Corps Week, May 19-23. Senior Corps, which is under the direction of the Corporation for National and Community Service, consists of the Foster Grandparent Program, the Senior Companion Program, and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. 

Through Senior Corps programs, more than 340,000 volunteers strengthen their communities through their service.

In central Minnesota, more than 200 foster grandparents are a part of this effort, serving in schools, Head Starts and other local non-profits. 

The senior volunteers of the Central Minnesota Foster Grandparent Program provide meaningful, supportive relationships for children with special needs that enrich the lives of all involved. In 2013, these foster grandparents invested over 155,000 hours into the children of our local communities. 

Jean Schmidt serves as a foster grandparent in Perham at Prairie Wind Middle School. Jean, and those like her, make a difference in the lives of many children each year. As the school year comes to a close, we salute their efforts and their service.

Foster grandparents spend 15 to 40 hours per week helping children in schools, early education programs, residential facilities, and other nonprofit agencies. They create relationships with and become role models for children who need such constructive relationships the most.

The Central Minnesota Foster Grandparent Program is sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud. For information, or to become a foster grandparent, contact our office at 1-866-895-7992.

Emily Chaphalkar

Area Supervisor, Foster Grandparent Program

St. Cloud, MN