LSS Seeks Foster Grandparents to Impact the Lives of Children and Youth
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) is seeking volunteers for its Foster Grandparent service, in partnership with AmeriCorps Seniors, a national service agency, to offer guidance and encouragement to children and youth in the community.
Foster Grandparent volunteers are older adults who traditionally offer one-to-one mentoring in the classroom and other settings to children and youth who may be experiencing academic or social challenges. Their presence and reassurance can help children and youth improve self-esteem, social and emotional development and literacy and math skills.
“The children are wonderful, and it is great to see their joy when they succeed,” shared Carol Barsness, a Foster Grandparent volunteer. “A parent wrote me a letter after the school year ended and shared that their child thought of me as his own grandma. I was able to provide emotional support for him.”
And, the rewards go both ways, enriching the lives of Foster Grandparents as well.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to volunteer; I feel appreciated, it helps me stay active and keeps my mind sharp,” Barsness said. “I feel so much love for the children and it is rewarding to support teachers who see the value in my volunteering.”
In Minnesota in 2019, 273 Foster Grandparents spent nearly 163,350 hours supporting children at 142 schools and other sites throughout the state. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the service was provided virtually over the past year. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is hoping to resume in-person volunteering for the upcoming school year. However, there is still the opportunity to volunteer remotely with partner sites that offer remote learning.
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is currently seeking volunteers who are age 55 years or older and can commit to at least 10 hours per week.
The Foster Grandparent service offers volunteers an hourly stipend, a chance to stay connected and a meaningful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people. More than 15 hours of training is provided and there are a limited number of iPads to loan volunteers who don’t have access to technology for remote volunteering.
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota conducts background checks to ensure safety. The statewide organization serves all Minnesotans and welcomes volunteers from various cultures, backgrounds, traditions and stages in life to inquire. If you are interested in becoming a Foster Grandparent, call 888.205.3770 or visit lssmn.org/fgvolunteer.
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota also welcomes organizations to become partner sites to support youth in a variety of settings including public and private schools, Head Start locations, shelters, and daycare centers. To become a partner, visit lssmn.org/fgpartner or call 888.205.3770.