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Program that places senior volunteers in Title I schools receives award

Program that places senior volunteers in Title I schools receives award (Kellye Lynn)

For the past year, retired public relations professional Linda Neves has served as a volunteer at Crestwood Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia.

"I should have been a teacher. I was in the wrong career," she told ABC7 News.

The 69-year-old describes working with students as an experience that brings her joy and she got the opportunity through a program called GrandInvolve.

Valeska Vargas, a sixth grader at Crestwood, appreciates the visits from the older volunteers.

"I think it's pretty good because some kids need support in learning. They need help in learning," she offered.

Principal Timothy Kasik added, "Many times they'll mentor students and we started a stitchery club after school for our third through sixth graders."

"That's where we bring in third through sixth grade boys and girls to teach them to knit," continued volunteer Marcy Stennis.

The GrandInvolve program puts older adults in Title I elementary schools.

At Crestwood, more than 70 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Virginia Governor Terry McAulliffe recently recognized the Fairfax County program with a Volunteerism and Community Service Award, referring to it as an outstanding community organization.

Jose Banegas-Reyes, 7, has benefited from the program.

"They helped me in math and what to do on number lines," he stated.

As Stennis pointed out, there are also plenty of benefits for volunteers.

"It makes you feel like, 'Well, I can do some of these things and I'm doing something worthwhile.' But it also, I think, gives you energy," she shared.

Many of the volunteers in GrandInvolve are from the Springfield senior housing community Greenspring Village. Grace Presbyterian Church provides a bus that transports the volunteers to the school.

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