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Volunteers help children

Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

ROCK FALLS – The fourth annual Senior Corps Week was May 6-10.

Senior Corps Week recognizes a program of the Corporation for National Community Service. It taps the skills, talents, and experience of more than 300,000 Americans age 55 and older, to meet community challenges through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Foster Grandparents, and Senior Companions.

Tri-County Opportunities Council’s Foster Grandparent Program of Western Illinois is one of the Senior Corps.

The program connects volunteers with opportunities to provide one-on-one mentoring, nurturing, and support to children with special or exceptional needs, or who are at an academic, social, or financial disadvantage.

Foster Grandparents serve between 15 and 40 hours a week. Volunteers, who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, receive $2.65 per hour to help offset costs. Tri-County received federal and state grants to support the program.

Locally in 2012, 79 Foster Grandparents of Western Illinois provided 75,983 hours of service, helping 212 children in 30 locations throughout Bureau, Carroll, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside counties.

Teacher evaluations showed that 94 percent of the students assisted by Foster Grandparents increased their reading skills. Currently Foster Grandparents are at Amboy Grade School;

Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, and St. Mary elementary schools, Bright Beginnings Day Care, Open Sesame Children’s Learning Center, and Lovett Child Development Center.

Grand Detour: Faith Christian School.

Rock Falls: Merrill, Dillon, St. Andrew, and East Coloma elementary schools, Riverdale Preschool, and Coloma Township Park District’s Little Red School House.

Sterling: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin, and Christ Lutheran elementary schools, CGH Helping Hands, and Exceptional Care Center.

For more information, contact Barb Wolcott, Foster Grandparent Program director, at www.tcohelps.com or 800-323-5435, ext. 40.

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