BBBS Foster Grandparent Program needs volunteers

Published 12:56 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Louisiana’s Foster Grandparent Program is in need of volunteers.

This program was first developed in 1965 through a partnership between the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health Education and Welfare. In 1999, FGP was adopted in Southwest Louisiana as a way to mutually benefit students and low-income citizens 55 and older.

The Foster Grandparents work with students on their literacy skills in cities throughout Southwest Louisiana, including Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake, Iowa, Welsh, Crowley and DeRidder. The ultimate goal is to bring students up to their targeted reading level and score at least “Above Basic” level on LEAP and iLEAP standardized testing.

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They also work with the students to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence through positive encouragement and support.

Kathy Richard, director, AmeriCorps Senior Foster Grandparent Program, said that the need for additional literacy education support for students is great in Southwest Louisiana, as the area is still experiencing the aftershocks of COVID-19 and hurricanes Laura and Delta.

“Too many children have fallen behind in the most important subject they will need, reading.”

The Foster Grandparents get a sense of fulfillment of community service, she said.

“Low income senior citizens also receive a stipend which affords them the opportunity to help with a bill, medication or just that little pocket money that they may not normally have.”

FGP is funded by AmeriCorps Seniors. Participating Grandparents work 20 to 40 hours a week.

In exchange for their time and services, they receive a small, non-taxable stipend of $4 an hour. This stipend does not affect any government benefits. Additionally, they receive mileage reimbursement and paid time off for holidays. To be eligible as a Foster Grandparent, applicants must be 55 or older, capable of working at least 20 hours a week, physically able to work with students in the classroom, pass a background check and meet income guidelines.

Non-stipend Foster Grandparents do not have to meet the 20 hours a week requirement.

For more information, contact Richard at or 337-478-5437 ext. 104.