Youth Alternatives will receive close to $1 million in funding

Published: Jun. 6, 2020 at 8:23 PM CDT
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City of Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr has announced that the Office of Youth Alternatives has received a Senior Corps Foster Grandparent grant of $318,375.00 per year for three years from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service.

This award will support 45 to 50 Senior Corps Foster Grandparent Volunteers serving Southeastern Wyoming.

The Foster Grandparent Program had previously been under the sponsorship of Peak Wellness for the past 35 years. However, Peak Wellness has recently restructured their service model and felt that the mission of the Foster Grandparent Program may be better served under new sponsorship.

Youth Alternatives has collaborated on a number of prior projects with Peak Wellness throughout the years and is excited to work with them once again to ensure a smooth transition of the Foster Grandparent Program.

Jay Sullivan, Director of Youth Alternatives, stated that "the Foster Grandparent Program is a vital program to the community and a natural fit with their existing mentoring programs."

The funds were awarded as part of a Senior Corps grant competition to increase the impact of national service in new or specific geographic areas. Through Youth Alternatives, Senior Corps volunteers will continue to provide excellent service to the community's youth.

Today, Senior Corps engages approximately 200,000 Americans at more than 20,000 locations across the nation through its Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion, and RSVP programs. Now more than 50 years old, the Foster Grandparent Program engages older adults as tutors, mentors, and role models to children at-risk of falling behind in school and to those with physical disabilities and/or other special needs.

While serving, Senior Corps volunteers also improve their own lives, staying active and healthy through service. A growing body of research points to mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteering, including lower mortality rates, increased strength and energy, decreased rates of depression, and fewer physical limitations. Findings from a recent CNCS study show that Senior Corps volunteers serving with the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs report feeling significantly less depressed and isolated, along with higher health scores.

Youth Alternatives, a department of the City of Cheyenne will soon be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The mission of Youth Alternatives is "To intervene in the lives of young people at an impressionable stage in their emotional growth and development when positive behaviors are more easily formed." Through a multitude of services such as family counseling, mentoring, court services, after school programming, kinship advocacy, and group services over 1,200 youth and families are impacted yearly.

Individuals interested in becoming a Foster Grandparent may contact Judi Johnston at the Office of Youth Alternatives at (307) 637-6480.