(Dec 8, 2021) Catherine Read sits down with Dorothy Keenan, Founder & Executive Director of GrandInvolve, a program that places active older adults in the classrooms of Title I elementary schools in Fairfax County. This program grew out of an initiative by the Fairfax County Council on Aging to address social isolation among seniors.
The first GrandInvolve volunteers began at Crestwood Elementary School in 2014. The program has steadily grown over the years and prior to schools closing for COVID in March, there were 165 volunteers in 24 Title I schools, primarily in the Mount Vernon and Lee Districts. Some volunteers did virtual volunteering during school closures with classrooms and through a program coordinated by Cornerstones.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, GrandInvolve continued to engage volunteers virtually via Zoom. There was a volunteer appreciation event, trainings, monthly roundtable meetings and leadership team meetings, work groups and program planning.
During 2021, GrandInvolve received the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Award for Education and Literacy from Volunteer Fairfax. The program was also selected by Burke & Herbert Bank as the recipient of their annual Scores4Kids program for 2021-22. Dorothy Keenan was recognized by the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations with their Citation of Merit for 2019 and she was also honored as an Encore Network Champion for 2021.
GrandInvolve is actively planning for a return to the classroom in 2022 with their existing partner schools. As in-person restrictions ease and there is a return to normal routines, GrandInvolve’s ten-year mission to place volunteers in every Title I elementary school in Fairfax County will continue to move forward.