Family Friends Program in Philadelphia Provides Helpful Surrogate Grandparents

Starting in 1996, this project supported the expansion of the Family Friends program, which matched older volunteers with children who have severe disabilities or chronic illness and with their families.

Temple University's Center for Intergenerational Learning sponsored the project and focused on a poor and underserved neighborhood in north Philadelphia.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Program, Faith in Action®, Generation 2 and Generation 3.

Key Results

  • Thirteen volunteers served 12 families and 25 children. The volunteers ranged in age from 54 to 76 years; the children were from eight months to 14 years of age.

Recruiting congregations to become part of the Faith in Action program ran into difficulties. As an outside agency, the sponsor may have had more success offering technical assistance, rather than running a program that the congregation would be part of. Two congregations did become active in the program, referring both volunteers and caregivers.