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Catholic Charities Celebrates Senior Corps Week, 50th Anniversary of Foster Grandparent Program

by sbrown
Tue, May 19th 2015 04:00 pm
Susan Seawood, right, Catholic Charities Foster Grandparent Program leader, works with a volunteer during a recent training event.
Susan Seawood, right, Catholic Charities Foster Grandparent Program leader, works with a volunteer during a recent training event.

BUFFALO, NY, May 19, 2015 - In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its Foster Grandparent Program in conjunction with Senior Corps Week May 18-23, Catholic Charities will thank its 96 Foster Grandparent Program volunteers during its "50 and Feeling Fabulous" event May 22 at the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY, 1081 Broadway, Buffalo.  

Senior Corps Week, developed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, spotlights the impact of Senior Corps volunteers on their communities. Catholic Charities Foster Grandparent Program is a program of Service Corps, which is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The recognition event will offer the volunteers ways to decrease stress, including chair massages, stress reduction methods and visits by therapy animals. Foster Grandparent Program volunteers will also present hygiene items they collected for the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Essentials Pantry, which serves the needs of homeless individuals in Buffalo, as part of the Senior Corps Donation Drive.

In 2014, Catholic Charities' Foster Grandparents dedicated more than 87,000 hours in 32 educational settings in Erie County, including five Head Start sites, two after school programs, five preschool centers, two charter schools and 18 Buffalo Public Schools. A total of 63 Foster Grandparents work with children in Buffalo Public Schools.

Elvia Dussett, a Foster Grandparent serving at Westminster Community Charter School, began volunteering in March 2015 and works 20-30 hours with a kindergarten class of 19 students.

"You have to have a love for children and a love for volunteering," Dussett said. "I have a wonderful teacher and I just enjoy it so much."

Susan Seawood, Foster Grandparent Program leader, acknowledged the significance of the work of the volunteers.

"Our Foster Grandparents put forth a great amount of time and effort, resulting in relationships that impact children's lives and provide the focused attention of a loving adult so many at-risk children and youth crave," said Seawood. "Both the Foster Grandparent and the child are forever changed. I am so proud to work with this committed, engaged and caring group of adults."

Catholic Charities is currently seeking individuals who are ages 55 and above, reside in Erie County and are income eligible to consider serving as Foster Grandparents. Catholic Charities is especially seeking residents of Buffalo's south and west sides. Volunteers receive an orientation and monthly trainings to equip them with the skills needed to help students. They also receive a stipend, accident and liability insurance, and travel reimbursement.

Foster Grandparents stay active by developing one-on-one relationships with children ages 3-18 by tutoring, mentoring, and offering caring support to special and exceptional needs children. Grandparents volunteer between 15 and 40 hours each week and draw from personal wisdom and experience to help children meet social, academic, and developmental goals under the supervision of teachers and center directors.             

For more information about volunteering for the program or hosting Foster Grandparents in an educational setting, please call (716) 896-6388 or visit ccwny.org.

As the most comprehensive human service provider in Western New York, Catholic Charities makes a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success.

Catholic Charities is an excellent steward of the contributions it receives. For five years, Catholic Charities attained the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.

You can also find Catholic Charities on Facebook at facebook.com/ccbuffalo and on Twitter at twitter.com/ccbuffalo.                            

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