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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local May 26, 2016

7/1/2014 3:27:00 PM
NAU trains foster grandparents in Verde Valley
Vanessa Decarlo speaks during “Foster Grandparents Camp”
Vanessa Decarlo speaks during “Foster Grandparents Camp”

Foster Grandparents are specially trained individuals who act as tutors and mentors and have the power to assist children by helping them learn to read and guiding them at critical times in their lives. These services are provided in schools, Head Start classrooms and other youth facilities throughout the area both during the school year and during the summer.

Those participating as Foster Grandparents locally, in a Federal Program that is sponsored by NAU, attended 20 hours of training this summer. The goal was to better serve students within area schools. Among the speakers for the sessions were Jo Burke, a retired educator with 42 years' experience; Lee Phelps, MSW; and Shana Smith, the Foster Grandparents Program Coordinator. These presenters addressed topics such as reading strategies, learning disorders and sparking the learning process.

Another special presenter was Vanessa Dicarlo, who has a Master's Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in positive behavioral support and Autism. During the recent Foster Grandparent training, or "Foster Grandparent Camp", she presented on the relevant topics of "Classroom Support Strategies," "Understanding Core Curriculum and the autism spectrum, dyslexia, ADHD, behavioral challenges and fetal alcohol syndrome.

To become a Foster Grandparent, an individual must sign up to volunteer at least 15 hours per week. Many of them qualify to earn a tax-free hourly stipend. In addition, volunteers receive pre-service orientation, training, sick and vacation leave as well as supplemental accident and liability insurance while on duty.

To learn more about Vanessa Dicarlo visit

To find out how to be a Foster Grandparent Volunteer, contact Shana Smith at (928) 202-8261

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