Service Description

Foster Grandparent Program Overview

Volunteering is essential to the achievement of UPO’s mission of uniting people with opportunities. This is especially true when it comes to mentoring and nurturing our youth.

The Foster Grandparent Program provides volunteer opportunities for persons 55 years and older to work one-on-one and in small groups with children from birth to 21 years of age in educational and social service settings.

This program operates at 42 locations in the District of Columbia and includes early education centers, public and charter schools, before and after-school programs, as well as youth programs. There are over 250 senior citizens that participate in the program annually. Our Foster Grandparents assist approximately 2,400 children one-on-one, and over 9,000 children in group settings. Each year, Foster Grandparents provide over 180,000 volunteer hours with an estimated value of $4.2 million.

The Program is sponsored by UPO and funded by the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS).

Foster Grandparent Program Success Stories

Foster Grandparents serve where the need is the greatest and because of this, our youth receive tremendous academic benefits alongside life-changing personal development.

Foster Grandparent Superstars

“I became a UPO foster grandparent because there is a great need to make a special difference in the quality of children’s lives. I give them special attention and love as if they were my own grandchildren.”

-C. Fields, Foster Grandparent (ages 1-2 years old)

“I work with special needs children, so when they smile to let me know that they recognize me, I can tell that I am making a difference. My favorite memory involves a child who was extremely shy and didn’t speak very much, hug me and call me “Grandma”. That moment greatly impacted me.”

-E. Johnson, Foster Grandparent (ages 1-17 years old)

“I would like to see others support this program by giving a few hours of their time to enhance a child’s life even if that means visiting to read them a book.”

-M. Hulcomb, Foster Grandparent (ages 3-5)

Volunteer Today!

Seniors seeking to serve should contact Carol Johnson, Program Coordinator, at (202) 610-5123 or

Schools and programs seeking to serve as volunteer work sites or individuals/organizations seeking to assist the program should contact Cheryl M. Christmas, Program Director, at (202) 610-5126 or

New Foster Grandparent training is offered every other month.