BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Foster grandparents are people 55 or older who assist children who require additional help, and since the pandemic, they have been in high demand.

The Broome County Office for Aging recently recognized the roughly 50 volunteers in its foster grandparent program for their service to the community.

The volunteers go into schools, childcare centers, and Head Start programs and interact one-on-one as the children’s acting grandparent.

Victoria Rucker is a volunteer in the program, and works with 4 to 5 year olds.

She says that the program benefits the seniors just as much as the children, by exercising their spirits and their minds.

“I’m just happy to be in the program. I have two grandchildren of my own, but they live long distance so, this gives me a chance to share the love and nurture that I have already in me with other children.”

The program did not continue throughout the pandemic, and was recently re-introduced following high demand.

Many volunteers gathered at the Broome County Public Library to celebrate the return and success of the program.

County Executive Jason Garnar was in attendance, and signed a proclamation dedicating the week to the senior volunteers.