Stipends, mileage reimbursement remain available for senior volunteer tutors
Almost $50,000 in federal funding remains available to support service stipends, paid leave and holidays, and transportation costs for income-eligible seniors to assist children with reading skills. Nineteen positions in pre-kindergarten or eleme...
Almost $50,000 in federal funding remains available to support service stipends, paid leave and holidays, and transportation costs for income-eligible seniors to assist children with reading skills. Nineteen positions in pre-kindergarten or elementary school classrooms remain to be filled in the Northland during the 2008-09 school year.
Targeted communities for service include Cloquet, Moose Lake, Hinckley, Sandstone, Duluth, Superior, Two Harbors, Silver Bay and Grand Marais.
The monthly non-taxable stipends of $170-460 come with a minimum service requirement of 15 hours per week. Federal law 93-113 guarantees that the stipends are exempt when considering eligibility for other benefit programs such as subsidized housing, fuel assistance or senior nutrition programs.
"Everyone familiar with school-age children understands that teachers have very limited time to spend hours one-on-one with students who struggle with literacy skills such as vocabulary and reading comprehension. Our seniors are helpers in their classrooms to prevent these children from falling behind, encourage them to try their best every day, and foster a love of learning which will help them succeed throughout their lifetime," explained Karen Arthur, director of the Foster Grandparent Program of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.
The mission statement of the program is "Together, we help the world become a better place, one child at a time."
Federal guidelines prohibit replacing employees at the school or preschool program with senior tutors supported by this grant.
"We offer an expansion of tutoring assistance in the classroom, supplementing the contributions of paraprofessionals who are present," Arthur stated. "Another bonus we provide is the inter-generational learning for children who may not have grandparents living near them.
"We are fortunate to be able to provide stipends and travel reimbursement to seniors in our area as a result of our annual grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service," said Arthur. "Recent news stories have shown how older residents on fixed incomes everywhere are struggling financially right now. It is tragic to think that most are completely unaware of this community service opportunity which can drastically improve their financial well-being while helping children become more successful in school. It's a win-win any way you look at it."
Informal introductory meetings are hosted on the last Tuesday of each month to review stipend eligibility, the application process, and describe where available positions are located in the six-county service area. To make a reservation for the session scheduled Tuesday, July 29, at 1:30 p.m., call 888-338-6492 toll-free or send an e-mail to email@example.com .
Online information for service opportunities in Minnesota and throughout the United States is located at www.seniorcorps.org .