All posts tagged: AmeriCorps Seniors

Foster grandparents embrace remote learning

MEOC AmeriCorps Seniors Director Brandi Barnette with new tablets

Faced with continuing COVID-19 restrictions, MEOC AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers are using technology to stay connected to the program and each other, attend virtual workshops and even participate in activities to improve their well-being. The MEOC program (formerly the Foster Grandparent Program) purchased 18 new tablets using the bulk of a one-time $15,000 augmentation grant from AmeriCorps. The funding was made available to help AmeriCorps Seniors programs address challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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AmeriCorps Seniors find ways to help communities despite restrictions

Unable to serve in area classrooms during the pandemic, MEOC AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers have found other ways to assist their communities. The volunteers serve as foster grandparents to at-risk children in area Head Start and elementary schools, working one-on-one to mentor and tutor students. When pandemic restrictions began to emerge and schools shifted to virtual learning, the seniors found themselves isolated at home with lots of time on their hands. MEOC AmeriCorps Seniors Director Brandi Barnette began seeking partnerships and opportunities to keep volunteers engaged long distance.

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Foster grandparents take part in Day of Service

With limited access to public schools during the pandemic, MEOC’s AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers observed the September 11 Day of Service differently than in past years but still found a way to give back to the community. AmeriCorps Seniors (formerly the Foster Grandparent Program) participants filled 50 gift bags with items to donate to the agency’s Public Guardianship Program. The Public Guardianship Program serves indigent adults who have been determined by the court system to need a guardian or conservator.

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MEOC foster grandparent honored by Kids Central

MEOC foster grandparent Nelda ‘Moe’ Dennison (center) is this year’s recipient of Kids Central Inc.’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Presenting the award at Kids Central’s August board meeting is chairman Will Sturgill (left) and executive director Darrell Edwards.

Nelda “Moe” Dennison first heard about Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ Foster Grandparent Program when she was 57 years old. She was a regular volunteer on field trips and other activities with her granddaughter’s class at Appalachia Elementary School. “A lady there knew about the program and encouraged me to check on it,” recalled Dennison. She was drawn to the idea of volunteering in a classroom where she would help care for and mentor young children.

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Retiring foster grandparent: ‘I loved every minute of it’

Ruth Gibson first heard about MEOC’s Foster Grandparent Program more than two decades ago from a woman with whom she attended church. “I think you’d enjoy it,” Gibson recalls the woman telling her. It sounded like she might. So she gave MEOC a call to learn more about the program. Thus began Gibson’s 20 years of volunteer service as a foster grandparent. And she has enjoyed it indeed.

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