University of Tampa

Classroom Grandparents Receive Critical Training, Stipend Increase

This information is 5 months 3 weeks old and may no longer be accurate.

WHAT: Mayor Jane Castor will join Seniors in Service staff and more than 50 classroom grandparents participating in emotional intelligence and child literacy training.
DATE: Monday, April 3, 2023
TIME: 11:00 AM
LOCATION: Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, 1002 East Palm Ave

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is recognizing dozens of classroom grandparents for their commitment to serving young learners throughout Hillsborough County.

As part of the city’s partnership with Seniors in Service, the Mayor will meet approximately 75 volunteers during a workshop dedicated to train volunteers help children develop emotional intelligence and improve literacy using Hillsborough County Public School district’s practices.

The volunteers include 13 Castor’s Classroom Companions—a mentoring initiative funded through the City of Tampa. These volunteers along with approximately 200,000 grandparents throughout the nation will now receive $4 per hour of service effective April 1, 2023 -- a $1 per hour increase. This is the second time the Corporation for National and Community Service has increased hourly stipends for federally funded senior volunteer initiatives, such as Castor’s Classroom Companions.

Thanks to a federal grant the city received from AmeriCorps last year, it is also able to assist Seniors in Service with funding training opportunities to help foster grandparent volunteers better serve the needs of students enrolled in Title I elementary schools.

During the Mayor’s visit, more than 50 volunteers will take part in two critical training sessions. Frameworks of Tampa Bay will provide its bi-monthly Emotional Intelligence training for Seniors in Service volunteers. Taught by a licensed clinical social worker, this Emotional Intelligence training teaches the volunteers how to help children build skills like self-awareness, social awareness, relationships skills, and responsible decision-making, they have the toolbox to pull from when they face challenges big and small.

The group will also receive a specialized literacy training from Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS). This additional support and training from HCPS’s literacy coordinator will strengthen the classroom grandparent’s knowledge and skills to serve with excellence.

City of Tampa Castor’s Classroom Companion Initiative:

The City of Tampa received a $100,000 grant from AmeriCorps Seniors to expand the Castor’s Classroom Companions initiative last year. This additional federal funding will help place 16 seniors, who serve as tutors and mentors to vulnerable students, inside classrooms at Booker T. Washington, Broward and Potter Elementary Schools. These classroom companions will spend up to 30 hours per week in the same classroom for the entire school year, providing consistent one-on-one and small group tutoring for students who may easily fall behind. Volunteers can listen to their stories, calm their anxiety, defuse their frustrations and offer the love they need. They are considered to be a consistent, trusted adult who the students can rely on for support.

The funding provided by the AmeriCorps Seniors grant will include a stipend of $4 per hour for the classroom companions, as well as mileage to and from participating elementary schools, a meal allowance while volunteering and 12 trainings throughout the year that include best practices to teach literacy, social emotional learning and how to use technology.

More About Seniors in Service:

Seniors in Service provides solutions to community challenges by engaging volunteers aged 55+. Founded in 1984 as a non-profit 501(c)3, the organization helps at-risk seniors, children, veterans, and food-insecure individuals. Volunteers also benefit from staying active and purposeful. Seniors in Service serves 7500+ individuals annually in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco, engaging 1300+ volunteers in collaboration with 150+ community partners. Independent audits show over 94% of each dollar goes to program services.