Appalachian Senior Programs raises funding to assist children and seniors in the High Country

BOONE, N.C. — For over two decades, Appalachian State University's Department of Sociology has sponsored Appalachian Senior Programs (ASP). ASP provides services to children and older adults throughout Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Watauga and Wilkes counties. An upcoming event in July will provide an opportunity to learn from an Emmy award-winning journalist, author and speaker while also supporting ASP.

ASP fulfills its mission through two volunteer-based programs: the Foster Grandparent Program and the Senior Companion Program.

In the Foster Grandparent Program, volunteers assist children in need of academic attention by providing one-on-one classroom assistance. They work on specific academic goals outlined in Individual Education Plans (IEPs) identified by teachers, often in the areas of reading ability and reading comprehension. For children in Head Start programs, it can be assisting with activities of daily living and school readiness.

In the Senior Companion Program, volunteers help other adults maintain independence in their own homes by providing companionship and assistance. This assistance often includes transportation to appointments and to run errands, assistance with meal preparation and respite for caregivers.

To provide these services for free, ASP relies on donations, grants and volunteers. The programs are primarily supported through federal grants from AmeriCorps Seniors and local grants from county administrations, the North Carolina Community Foundation and United Way agencies. Volunteers are primarily low-income and receive a small stipend to offset the cost of their volunteering. 

Additionally, Project Star is an ASP program that provides basic necessities for seniors during the holiday season. Names of seniors in need are provided by local agencies, and the program assigns a number to each individual to ensure anonymity. Star ornaments are then created featuring a list of items that are requested by each senior. The items vary but typically include warm blankets, socks, coats, toiletries and food. Monetary donations are used to provide fuel assistance during the winter months.

On Wednesday, July 10, join ASP for a summer luncheon from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Jefferson Landing (184 West Landing Drive, Jefferson, NC 28640). Emmy award-winning journalist, author and speaker Molly Grantham will share how to approach change with positivity, understand reinvention and uncover power.

Tickets cost $50 and are available for purchase at Additionally, sponsorships ranging from $300 to $5,000 are available. Proceeds will support the Foster Grandparent Program, the Senior Companion Program and Project Star. A donation of $26.50 can fund one Foster Grandparent for one day (five hours) to work with five children on reading, math or social skills. A donation of $26.50 can fund one Senior Companion to provide one-on-one assistance for a peer senior for one day (five hours). Monetary donations specified for Project Star provide fuel assistance for seniors in need during winter months.

For those who want to help but are unable to attend the luncheon, tax-deductible donations can be made to ASP at

Questions can be directed to Dr. Amy Dellinger Page, Executive Director of ASP and Professor in Appalachian State's Department of Sociology, at


About Appalachian Senior Programs
Appalachian Senior Programs (ASP), sponsored by Appalachian State University, assists children and the senior population of a five-county area in northwestern North Carolina through the grant-funded Foster Grandparent program and Senior Companion program. Consisting of volunteers, ages fifty-five and older, ASP enhances the social-emotional and academic skills of children who need one-on-one assistance, and provides companionship and assistance for older adults who do not qualify for other assistance. Learn more at

About the Department of Sociology
The Department of Sociology offers a Bachelor of Arts and seven Bachelor of Science concentrations (applied research methods; criminology; families and intimate relationships; health and aging; power and social change; social inequalities; and individually designed, which requires departmental approval). The department also offers minors in sociology and health and aging, plus two online graduate certificates: aging, health and society, and sociology. Learn more at

By Lauren Gibbs & Dr. Amy Dellinger Page
June 12, 2024

Appalachian Senior Programs (ASP)
Published: Jun 12, 2024 10:00am