Elder Mentor program is looking for volunteers

The Elder Mentor Program – also known as Foster Grandparents – is looking for Alaska seniors who have a passion for working with children. Program Manager Jan Abbott says, “We have about 80 Elder Mentors currently, helping in schools across the state, but our goal is to have 150.”

She adds that this goal is especially important as schools have reopened this September.

Elder Mentors are people who are age 55 and older, from a lower income background. They volunteer about 15 to 20 hours a week in a local school or preschool, and earn a small, tax-free stipend for their work. Transportation and meal support are provided.

The mentors provide one-on-one help with schoolwork, model social and cultural values, and offer emotional support to children with special needs.

“Mentors are not the teachers or substitute teachers. They are someone who listens, who provides a compassionate heart for the children,” says Abbott.

Anyone who is interested in the program may call K.C. McAuliffe at 865-7354 or email eldermentors@ruralcap.com.