Volunteer Programs

Foster Grandparent Program

If you have a desire to help children in an educational setting and can give 15 to 20 hours a week of your time while receiving a modest stipend, the Foster Grandparent Program may be the volunteer opportunity you are looking for.

The Foster Grandparent Program began in 1965 as a way to enable low-income older adults to receive benefits while serving children with special needs.

Foster Grandparents serve in Portage County schools and Head Start classrooms, working one-on-one or in small groups giving attention and care to children at-risk or who need a little extra help. The child's needs might be educational, social, emotional, and/or physical. Under the direction of the classroom teacher, Foster Grandparents help with developmental and learning tasks such as reading, language, math, and social skills.

To qualify for the Foster Grandparent Program, individuals must:

  • Be 55 years of age or older.
  • Meet income eligibility guidelines (< 200 % of the poverty level).
  • Be able to pass criminal history and fingerprint background checks.
  • Be medically qualified (based on a physical examination) to serve without detriment to themselves or others.
  • Be able to serve a minimum of 7.5 hours/week.
  • Be willing and able to follow instructions and accept supervision.
  • Genuinely love and respect children.

Benefits of the Foster Grandparent Program include:

  • Tax-free/non-reportable stipend of $2.65/hour.
  • Mileage/transportation reimbursement.
  • Paid orientation, training, and in-service meetings.
  • Free lunchtime meal.
  • Paid sick leave, vacation time, and holidays.
  • Annual recognition event.
  • Supplemental accident and liability insurance while on duty.

The Foster Grandparent Program is part of the National Senior Service Corps and is sponsored locally by the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Portage County. The program is funded by federal and state grants.

RSVP: Your Invitation to Serve

RSVP Mission:

To promote volunteerism-targeting people age 55 and over as a means of addressing critical community needs and to provide a high-quality experience that will enrich the lives of the volunteers.

What does RSVP do? RSVP works to:

  • Recruit people age 55+ for volunteer assignments addressing community needs in local agencies.
  • Develop volunteer opportunities that utilize the skills, experience, and wisdom of older adults.
  • Increase the variety of volunteer opportunities available to older adults.
  • Provide opportunities for intergenerational activities and projects in school and community settings.
  • Increase public awareness of the contribution of older adults and report to funding sources the community impact of those contributions.

Why should you join RSVP? RSVP will:

  • Match your interests, abilities, and time with volunteer needs in the community.
  • Provide ongoing staff support and training as well as information on new volunteer opportunities.
  • Provide accident and liability insurance that covers you while you're volunteering.
  • Invite you to the annual RSVP recognition event.

You can choose a weekly schedule or you can choose from many short-term assignments and special events. Training is provided as needed, so you may want to try something new. You can also explore community volunteer opportunities at Volunteer Center. When you find something that interests you, let us know and we'll assist you with getting started. Email RSVP.