COVID-19 has resulted in school shutdowns nationwide. As a result, Foster Grandparents (seniors 55 and over) lost the ability to volunteer in the classrooms as they usually would. As schools went to distance learning, our seniors were not able to keep up. However, a new Technology Training curriculum allowed 31 Foster Grandparents to gain new skills to continue their work in the classroom, virtually, while bridging the technology gap between the generations. This week’s ceremony was to highlight the accomplishments of Foster Grandparent volunteers.
“Our Foster Grandparents have come such a long way in the last year,” said Leah Struck, Foster Grandparent Program Coordinator. “Our participants went from reading in the classroom to hosting storytime via Zoom, a platform none of them were familiar with before the training. Their new skills are allowing our volunteers to adapt to the virtual learning environment and to stay connected with friends and family.”
Of those who participated in the training, 21 have been placed at Head Start 0 to 5 volunteer stations where they utilize their computer and Zoom skills to assist teachers and students in a distance learning environment. They also provide one-on-one tutoring support to students. Since the training, some volunteers have joined a weekly Foster Grandparent virtual social group called “Coffee and Chat,” helping volunteers stay connected and free of isolation during the pandemic.