Volunteers, family members and others involved in Delaware’s Foster Grandparent Program will gather May 19 at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino Conference Center, 1131 N. Dupont Highway, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the program in the state.

Since 1967, Delawareans ages 55 and older have been meeting one-on-one and with groups of children in day care centers, schools, early learning centers and via programs at specialized facilities. These seniors have mentored and tutored an estimated 70,000 children with special or exceptional needs in Delaware during that time through the nationally recognized Foster Grandparent Program.

The program, funded by the Corporation for Community and National Service, is administered by the State Office of Volunteerism, part of the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of State Service Centers.

The May 19 event in Dover will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Foster Grandparent Program and will recognize the volunteers and various public, private and nonprofit agencies that serve as volunteer stations for the program to engage and develop appropriate relationships with the children being served.

“The personal commitment made by these senior volunteers as part of the Foster Grandparent Program is making a difference in the lives of some of Delaware’s most at-risk children,” said Gov. John Carney. “Foster Grandparents share their love, time and experience with children who are vulnerable and in need of compassion, role models and friendship. I am proud of the success this program has achieved over the past 50 years in Delaware.”

In 2016, the statewide program coordinated the activities of 205 foster grandparents at more than 115 volunteer stations, reaching more than 1,226 children. Through sharing their love, time, experience and talent, the volunteers spent more than 198,557 hours tutoring and mentoring at-risk children in 2016.

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