I am sure that many of the readers of The Post-Journal are well aware of the cuts to the federal budget that are being suggested by both the Republicans and the Democrats in Washington, D.C. It's a fact that we, as a country, need to cut expenses, repair inefficient programs, stem graft and corruption, and redo the taxing system within our country if we are to move forward as an economically viable nation that is able to keep its citizens safe and socially content. This can be done if politics can be set aside and leaders with heart and intelligence can sit down and compromise and actually lead as we have elected them to do.
As I read about proposed cuts, it seemed to me that many of them were made on the backs of the low-income and the seniors of our nation. One such proposed cut axed the funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service. This federal program organizes volunteer programs across the nation and brings citizens, mostly elderly, out into their communities to breathe life into social programs that serve citizens of all ages.
I recently retired as the director of the Foster Grandparent Program which is one of those great programs that comes under the Corporation. I loved that job and the seniors that were part of its operations. The grandparents volunteered at schools and believe me, their presence in the schools was very much needed and appreciated. The FGP is a real win-win-win situation; everybody won, the seniors, the students and the school system.
Upon speaking to my friends at FGP, I was told there are presently 68 foster grandparents serving at 39 volunteer sites that are schools, daycare centers, or Head Start Projects. Each foster grandparent is assigned to work with at least two assigned children. These children are identified by their teachers as children "in-need" who would benefit from the one-to-one attention provided by a foster grandparent - this program provides over 60,000 hours of volunteer service annually with area school children.
The Corporation also sponsors the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) which is an important collaborator within Chautauqua County. Senior volunteers working with the RSVP provide over 95,000 hours of volunteer service with 104 agencies (nonprofit, governmental or educational agencies) serving the county citizens; another win-win-win volunteer organization. If the Corporation funding is cut, the loss of the FGP and RSVP will be a real catastrophe which we will all have to endure.
Robert Terreberry lives in Maple Springs.