Nobody loves kids exactly like grammas and grandpas do, and
that dynamic is put to use to the best advantage of both age
groups at Grossmont College.
The program is called “Seniors for Kids,” and it brings
together volunteer seniors with kids in the college day-care
program. Lorraine Martin of the Grossmont College Child
Development Center is the project director.
The program’s goal is to let seniors of 55 and over become
mentors for kids five and under. The mentors work to promote
literacy and school readiness, and to work with children
with disabilities, children traumatized by domestic
violence, and children from international cultures.
Some of these contacts require special skills, which Martin
teaches in 12 orientation sessions. Volunteers are taught
about issues such as the qualities and expectations of a
senior mentor, stages of child development, child abuse and
neglect, and substance abuse.
Martin coordinates four orientation sessions a year and is
recruiting a new cohort of 30 volunteers for training at
Grossmont College, and placement in 10 area preschool sites,
including Grossmont’s own Child Development Center. The new
recruits will begin in June 22 and are asked to commit to 30
hours per month, or seven and one-half hours a week. Seniors
choose their work schedule and also the preschool site where
they will work, and receive a stipend of $225 every two
months. The state program is funded by the First Five
Commission of San Diego County.
From there, they work to fulfill the program’s motto, which
is, “When over 55 meets under 5, there are high fives all