National Civil Service for Seniors: AmeriCorps Foster Grandparent Program

Abstract

Of the 95 million Americans over-55, only 1 million of those volunteer, even though research has proven it increases longevity and quality of life (Zedlewski, 2006). The American government has invested funding in various volunteer programs through a program called AmeriCorps. Over 40,000 communities across the country are serviced by 270,000 volunteers whose combined volunteering accounts for 1.6 billion service hours yearly. Established in 1965, AmeriCorps mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. One of their programs, the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), specifically gives 22,000 seniors the opportunity to be a volunteer yearly. FGP seeks to increase the physical, emotional, and economic well-being of this population, and it has had remarkable success. Per AmeriCorps data, most senior volunteers report an increase in positive health outcomes after one year of service. This program’s design is worthy of replication by other countries and social service organizations for several reasons. It is one of the few volunteer programs for seniors that offers an annual stipend. The program appeals to funders because not only do seniors benefit, but there are benefits for multiple generations; it is a tutoring program for low-income students and seeks to address a host of other social issues affecting infants, children, teenagers, and young mothers. The intergenerational component of this program is a unique solution to loneliness, which significantly impacts seniors’ health.



Author Information
Elizabeth Kimberly Sellon, Fordham University, United States
Gregory Stewart, Miami University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: AGen2022
Stream: Aging and Gerontology

This paper is part of the AGen2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Sellon E., & Stewart G. (2022) National Civil Service for Seniors: AmeriCorps Foster Grandparent Program ISSN: 2432-4183 The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology 2022: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2432-4183.2022.1
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2432-4183.2022.1


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