Article Title: Over 55 and Finding Purpose

Article Content

I have been told that the first few years of retirement are glorious…no commitments, no schedule, no alarm clock! I have also been told that sooner or later the desire to make a difference, to be involved in your community and to be needed returns. But, you can only go out to lunch, shopping or visiting so often! This is what one retired social worker discovered. Soon the days became long and she found herself looking for meaning and purpose to her days again.  That is when she learned about the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP).

I oversee the Penquis Foster Grandparent Program and have the wonderful opportunity to witness 100’s of seniors finding purpose each day by volunteering in our local schools through the Foster Grandparent Program.


Foster Grandparents volunteer with children who are a few months old up to age twenty-one! The program began in 1965, to provides tutors and mentors to children and youth who are disadvantaged or have disabilities. Our Foster Grandparents share their love, time and experience with these little one who soak it up like a sponge. They are a role model, a mentor and a friend.  Put simply, they give the kind of comfort and love that sets a child on the path toward a successful future.

Volunteering leads to new discoveries and new friends.  Studies show that volunteering helps individuals live longer and promotes a positive outlook on life. This inter-generational program utilizes our only increasing natural resource—seniors—who are assisting our future resource–our children.


The Foster Grandparent Program has given me a chance to be a part of something bigger than my own little world….an opportunity to use my education to hopefully help children along their way to a strong future.  Maybe if I’m fortunate, I can instill in them my love of learning, the beauty of words, the rhythm of mathematics, and the mystery of the future to be figured out by studying the past.”- Foster Grandparent from Brewer Community School

“Foster grandparents are just ordinary people who reach out and take a child’s hand and together make a difference that lasts a lifetime.” – Foster Grandparent from SeDoMoCha , Dover-Foxcroft.

If by chance you know someone or you are looking for a rewarding experience, please consider volunteering with the Penquis Foster Grandparent Program. Working one-on-one or in groups and serving between 15 and 40 hours a week, Foster Grandparents provide support in schools, Head Start centers, child care centers and other public and non-profit locations.

Volunteers are 55 years of age or older and need to meet income guidelines.  Foster Grandparents receive a tax-free stipend, mileage reimbursement to and from the volunteer site, pre-service orientation, training and supplemental accident and liability insurance while on duty.

For more information on the Penquis Foster Grandparent Program or to receive an application please call Maria Staples, Program Manager, at 973-3611 or at 1-800-215-4942 or Penquis administers this program in every county in Maine except York and Cumberland.


With Hope and Appreciation,
Maria Staples
Foster Grandparent Program Director