The Fort Hays State University Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent Program recognized Hays, Victoria, McCracken and Ellis volunteers for their service to children with special needs and homebound, frail and disabled individuals in their communities.

Those recognized were Foster Grandparents Mitch Sommers of Victoria for one year of service, Dennis Bollig of Ellis for six years, Robert Macdonald of Hays for 12 years, and Karen Noon of Hays for 12 years,

Hays Senior Companions honored were Elaine Goodwin for one year, Jim Billinger for one year, Arlene Schlyer for eight years of service, Adrienne Cargile for three years and Addie Mills of McCracken for six years with the Program.

Foster Grandparents serve in schools, day care centers and at Head Start Centers, helping children with special or exceptional needs. They read to the children, model appropriate behaviors, listen and give one-on-one attention to those who need a stable adult relationship with an older adult. They provide additional love and attention to children who may need the comfort of a "Grandma" or "Grandpa."

Senior Companions share their time and wisdom helping adults. Companions may provide respite care for family caregivers; assist with transportation, help with light chores and monitor medication for those needing a helping hand to remain in their homes. There is no cost to those served.

Those who volunteer are subject to criminal history checks and receive monthly training and annual recognition. They may receive benefits that include a tax-free stipend of $2.65 per hour, a travel allowance, accident and liability insurance, paid vacation, sick leave and holidays. They have accident and liability insurance while serving.

The Programs are sponsored by Fort Hays State University and funded by the Corporation for National & Community Service, Washington, D.C. Senior Companions serve in Barton, Ellis, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Trego, Ford, Gove, Graham, Phillips, Pawnee, Rush, Hodgeman, Ness, Logan and Pawnee counties. Ellis Count, Rush County and the City of Ellis provide support to the Program. For more information, one may call 785-628-5809.