The 27th annual Foster Grandparent Training Conference will be held June 8-10 at Lake DeGray State Park Lodge. Approximately 180 retirees who volunteer as foster grandparents in 27 Arkansas counties are registered to attend.
This year’s conference theme is “Yee Haw for Volunteers: Sharing Today to Shape Tomorrow” and is sponsored by Stryker Orthopaedics and Drew County Farm Bureau. The conference will include workshops, a health fair, fitness classes and other activities as well as an awards luncheon that will feature a celebration of the 45th anniversary of this national program. Exhibitors will include Twin Rivers Health & Rehabilitation, Courtyard Gardens Health/Rehab, Telecommunication Access program (TAP) and Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly.
Event organizers said the conference is designed for participants to return to their respective neighborhoods energized to provide one-on-one assistance to thousands of children and families in need.
These “Senior Corps” participants are from Foster Grandparent Programs sponsored by Ouachita Baptist University, DeQueen-Mena Education Cooperative and Southeast Arkansas Education Cooperative. The three programs serve a combined total of 2,000 special needs children in 29 public schools, nine schools for developmentally disabled children, nine HeadStart programs and five daycare centers in 54 towns and rural communities across south and west Arkansas.
Funded by the Corporation for National Service, the three Foster Grandparent Programs hosting the conference add at least $1 million to the economy annually. They provide more than 258,000 hours of volunteer service per year, valued at a total of $3.5 million. The programs also generate an additional 10 to 15 percent in community support.
For more information about the Foster Grandparent Program, contact Shirley McMillan at Ouachita Baptist University at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-245-5195.