Media Release

Senior Services' Volunteer Programs

Friday, April 24, 2009 1:00 AM

April 24, 2009


4:45 p.m.


ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Alachua County Division of Senior Services wants to make citizens aware of recent changes to two National Service programs, the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).


On March 31, 2009, the House of Representatives passed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, after the Senate passed the House’s "GIVE" (Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education) Act and renamed it after the Massachusetts Senator. Signed by President Obama on April 21, 2009, the bill reauthorizes Senior Corps for the first time since 1993. 


Reforms that will impact these programs include:

  • The minimum age is lowered from 60 to 55 for FGP, growing the recruitment pool significantly.
  • Individuals up to 200% of poverty may be eligible for the hourly stipend for Foster Grandparents (up from 125%), providing much needed economic incentives for more individuals.
  • The Federal share of the hourly stipend for FGP may increase to $3 (from $2.65), providing the first significant increase in a decade.
  • FGP will be authorized to serve children "having special or exceptional needs or with conditions or circumstances identified as limiting their academic, social, or economic development." Previously, FGP could only serve children "having special or exceptional needs."
  • 75% of grants under Programs of National Significance will be available to existing grantees. They may include respite care, mentoring disadvantaged youth, before and after-school programs serving low-income children, clean energy activities, and prisoner reentry. If funding is allocated, Senior Services will have the opportunity to expand RSVP and/or FGP, and increase our non-County funding.
  • Sponsors will be permitted to accept donations, except from beneficiaries.
  • Establishes a Silver Scholars program, under which volunteers 55 and older who serve 350 hours receive a $1,000 education award, which is transferable to a child, foster child, or grandchild.

For more information, contact Norma Berger, Program Coordinator, Alachua County Foster Grandparent Program at 352-264-6730.




  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).