RiseVT recently sat down with the Foster Grandparent program of Franklin and Grand Isle County to talk about how these two organizations could collaborate together.    Before our story begins, let’s talk more about this amazing program that we have in our community and what their role is within our school systems.

The Foster Grandparent program provides an opportunity for adults age 55 and older to remain engaged in the community, earn supplemental income and help children with critical needs by providing the kind of comfort and nurturing that sets a child on the path toward a successful future.


Foster Grandparent volunteers serve as tutors, mentors and friends to children; they help children learn and offer guidance as they:

  • Serve in preschools, elementary schools, youth facilities and other locations.
  • Work 1-on-1 or in small groups with special needs children.
  • Serve a minimum of 15 hours/week and receive an hourly stipend with benefits.

In our area we have foster grandparents in many of schools, working with students and engaging with them almost every week.

How is the Foster Grandparent Program collaborating with RiseVT?  

RiseVT was so excited to hear from our local foster grandparents and talk about how they want to embrace a healthier lifestyle, in particular they all wanted to be walking more.  Mary Pelkey, Foster Grandparent Coordinator, discussed with us how our collaboration would not only benefit the grandparents but the students as well.

“Foster Grandparents work with children in so many ways. They assist them with literacy and math skills as well as encourage them in many ways to build self confidence and increase their self esteem. Foster Grandparents also serve as wonderful role models for the children they serve.  If children see them  excited about walking more to become healthier, we hope this will spark some enthusiasm to do the same!  It seems like a win-win situation!”

RiseVT has donated pedometers to each Foster Grandparent and they will be wearing them during school hours to track how much they walk.   “Foster Grandparents are very special people!  They are always searching for ways to improve the lives of the children they serve. Encouraging them to want to be healthier is one more way to accomplish this.   Using these great pedometers will be a fun way to meet this goal,” stated Mary Pelkey.  

RiseVT will be checking in with our grandparents to see how they are doing and how we can support them even more.   They are “rising” to the challenge and we are so thrilled to be working  with all of them!

The Foster Grandparent Program is sponsored by The United Way of Chittenden County and is also supported by Franklin Grand Isle United Way.  For more information, contact Mary Pelkey at 524-6337.